ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Pictures from a freelance photographer and video from surveillance cameras reveal the beating that’s now at the center of a federal civil rights trial.
The first exhibits introduced by prosecutors were pictures of battered officer Luther Hall after he was beaten while working undercover. They show his swollen lip and elbow abrasions.
Prosecutors also showed pictures from right after happened. Hall is sitting, surrounded by police, with another person arrested on the corner of Olive and 14th streets. A freelance photographer testified Wednesday he took the pictures right before a police officer told him to “move along.”
Real-time video cameras, controlled by St. Louis Police, failed to capture the beating. An officer testified that someone moved the camera away from where it happened. He said he didn’t know why.
It all happened Sept. 17, 2017 after the Jason Stockley verdict.
Hall was working undercover with a partner – officer Lewis Naes. Their job was to blend in with protestors and document their crimes by taking pictures.
They got split up in the chaos.
Naes, who is white, testified Wednesday that he was hit with a rifle bean bag round while in a crowd. Then he says he encountered black officers, who didn’t recognize he was undercover. He said they arrested him without violence and that it was by the book.
Naes testified that he saw his partner Hall later that night. He described seeing him with a bloody lip and cuts to his ear and elbow. Naes says he asked what happened and that Hall told him he, “got his (expletive) kicked by police.”
Defense attorney Scott Rosenblum drew a distinction between what happened to each officer, during cross examination. He challenged Naes, pointing out that Naes said he had his hands up when he encountered officers. Rosenblum said Hall was hiding in a small, dark space – without his hands up.
Next up to take the stand – the undercover officer who was beaten. Officer Hall is expected to testify first thing Thursday morning.