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St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Lawyers for former St. Louis cop blame police culture for 2017 beating

In a sentencing memo filed Monday, Dustin Boone’s lawyers said a decade-long sentence would be “disproportionately high.” They say Boone did not participate in the initial attack on Detective Luther Hall on Sept. 17, 2017, but simply held him down later. They say his actions were prompted by other officers “acting as though” they were making a lawful arrest.

They also attack the culture of the St. Louis police department, saying it condoned and even encouraged violence, and calling it a place “where being cavalier about violence, particularly racial violence, was far too prevalent.”

“This prosecution against Dustin Boone takes snapshots of his life and paints him as a racist, uncaring thug. He’s none of those things,” the memo says.

The defense lawyers, Justin Kuehn and Stephen Williams, insist Boone is not a racist, praise Boone’s charitable works and call him “a doting husband and incredible father,” citing a series of letters from friends, relatives and former colleagues.

They also say he shouldn’t face more time than another former officer, Randy Hays, who admitted beating Hall. Hall was working undercover, documenting activity before and after protests turned violent.

The police department and the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association declined to comment on the defense filing.

In a statement, the Ethical Society of Police said Boone, “failed to treat Det. Luther Hall like a human being.”

They continued, “…a department’s culture is not an excuse for any officer to receive a reduction in their sentence for any crime, much less a civil rights violation. Officers must be held accountable for their actions and behavior.

In their own memo filed last week, prosecutors said Boone should receive a decade in prison, which is also the recommended sentence under federal guidelines. They said Boone saw his assignment to the Civil Disobedience Team as an opportunity to beat protesters and said he showed off by using FaceTime to broadcast his actions to his then-girlfriend. They also said he had a history of abusing suspects, including a juvenile.

Both sides also said a prison sentence would deter other police officers from similar behavior.

Boone was convicted by a federal jury in June of a civil rights charge, deprivation of rights under color of law. The jury could not reach a verdict on a charge of destruction of evidence against another former officer, Christopher Myers.