Ex-St. Louis police Officer Dustin Boone is fighting to hide his texts from the public.
A former St. Louis cop facing a criminal charge in the beating of a Black undercover detective has asked a judge to sanction federal prosecutors for disclosing text messages in which he uses the N-word freely, brags about sending people to the hospital and talks at length with other cops about prescription drug use.
Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office had previously released a number of texts sent and received by ex-police officer Dustin Boone and other cops accused of assaulting St. Louis police Det. Luther Hall in 2017 after mistaking him for a protester — but these messages had not been publicly disclosed in previous filings, and they expand beyond the Hall case.
Prosecutors say the texts and other information described in their recent filing show Boone was biased against Black people and that he had no problem violating his oath as a cop and the rights of those he encountered on the streets.
"There are r n——— running wild all across the city and even if/when we catch them..... they don't get in any trouble because there are plate lips running the CAO!" Boone wrote in a group text to other officers in July 2017, two months before the assault on Hall.
CAO is apparently a reference to the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office, which is under the supervision of the city's first Black circuit attorney, Kim Gardner.
See Also: Here's How FBI Agents Outsmarted the St. Louis Cops Charged in Beating
Boone was one of five officers who were indicted in relation to the September 2017 attack on Hall. He was assigned to the Civil Disobedience Team, better known as the riot police, that cracked down on protesters following the acquittal of ex-officer Jason Stockley in the killing of Anthony Lamar Smith. Hall later told investigators that his fellow officers beat him "like Rodney King
," even though he wasn't resisting and posed no threat.
Two officers pleaded guilty
, but Boone, ex-officer Christopher Myers and current officer Steve Korte went to trial this spring. None were found guilty
, but jurors deadlocked on a charge against Boone. They acquitted Myers on one charge in the beating, but couldn't decide whether he was guilty of smashing Hall's phone to destroy a recording of the assault.
Boone and Myers are set for another trial in June, and as prosecutors prepare for Round Two they filed a 33-page memo that outlines new evidence they plan to use this time. (See the second page of this story for the redacted memo.) Large sections of the filing have been blacked out, but the parts that haven't detail a trove of previously unreleased text messages attributed to Boone and others, including other cops.
Boone's attorney, Patrick Kilgore, argues in a court filing that the now-public information is "inflammatory, irrelevant, and highly prejudicial" and disclosing them violates a judge's order to file much of the information under seal. He notes that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote
about the texts and other information from the prosecutors' filing and claims it could taint the jury pool and keep Boone from receiving a fair trial. Additionally, Kilgore writes that the memo includes the names of Boone's relatives and police officers who haven't been charged. A spokeswoman for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police said the department would have no comment on any investigations or disciplinary action against any of the officers in Boone's texts.
In the memo, prosecutors say that the texts, many of which describe incidents separate from the protest where Hall was beaten, show a pattern of wrongdoing.
In April 2017, texts show Boone gloating about a violent confrontation with an unnamed person.
"Ooooohhh!!! Took a head shot w the taser!!!," Boone writes in a group text with members of his family. "Hahahahhaa Santa and I just smoked 2 dudes."
Santa is apparently a reference to now-former St. Louis police officer Kyle Santa, another texting partner of Boone's.
A few hours later, Boone sent a group text to multiple St. Louis cops: Timothy Strain, Christopher Narez, Marcus Biggins, Shawn Griggs and Matthew McInerny. All of those officers are still on the force, except for McInerny, whose time with the department ended in 2021.
"Dude caught a tampering 1st, resisting stealing of a motor vehicle out of the county and a TASER to the fuckin dome?" he writes, adding, "Caught him in some THICK over grow in a side vacant lot, there was nobody around except me. Shaw, shithead and god... he is at the hospital now... poor guy."
Griggs, who is still a city cop, wrote back: "Thats fuckin hilarious! Strong work!"
That thread continues with more details from Boone:
"Hahaha we made him tell the other officers on scene that he is a pussy! Hahaha he was puking on himself while EMS was looking at him and saying 'I'm a pussy, in a pussy." And crying...... it was the greatest moment of my short career! Lol."
Boone adds in a text message to two other men that the person was "puking and seizing."
Prosecutors' cache of text messages and other evidence cuts across a wide swath of activities that they say show Boone's rampant misconduct. There was a message in December 2017 to Myers about taking money: "I don't know if sarge is cool w taking any of that cash. I grabbed the 20s for us but I don't know how he will Be about it??"
And Boone's reply when now-former St. Louis police officer William "Beau" Wethington wrote he hoped Boone "beat that kids ass" in a March 2018 message.
"We didn't take him to children's for nothin! Lol," Boone responded, adding, "There r so many damn RTCC cameras in the fifth now, I had to literally drag him behind a privacy fence to avoid one. Can't believe how inconvenient they have made things!"
And then there were the texts and FaceTime videos with his then-girlfriend Ashley Marie Ditto. Prosecutors say that Boone hooked his phone on his uniform and livestreamed Hall's beating for Ditto. The hour-long video wasn't saved, but prosecutors say Ditto's messages back and forth with Boone prove that she watched what happened — and that Boone was involved. Afterward, Ditto wrote "That was SOOOOOO COOL!!!!"
LAWRENCE BRYANT/COURT EXHIBIT
Luther Hall, visible on the ground, is arrested on September 17, 2017.
But Boone learned the next day that the protester police had assaulted was actually an undercover detective, and prosecutors say text messages to Ditto show he was worried.
"Nothing about that story to anyone please," Boone wrote the day after Hall's beating. "Not something I am proud of and not entertaining at all at this point. I love you."
Ditto replied: "No way. I would never say anything. My heart hurts for you."
See Also: St. Louis Police Want Permission to Mace Nonviolent Protesters — Again
Prosecutors want to introduce the messages and a log that shows the times and duration of their FaceTime sessions, because they don't think they'll be able to compel Ditto to testify against Boone now that she is his wife. In fact, they claim that Boone married Ditto during the investigation into Hall's beating to ensure that wouldn't happen.
Large sections of what prosecutors had to say about that theory was redacted in the public filing. After nearly two pages of blacked out text, prosecutors wrote, "These facts indicate that at least one of the reasons that Boone and Ashley Marie Ditto were married is so that she would not have to testify."
But parts that were not concealed include yet another theme of wrongdoing described by prosecutors: prescription drug use.
Multiple texts show Boone discussing various medicines with multiple people. In one exchange between the officer and Ditto that was included in the prosecutors' filing, he asks about an apparently missing bunch of Concerta, a stimulant primarily approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder but often abused.
Ditto replies: "We have both been taking concerta since the adderall was out and at that concert I gave Gavin and Karen the rest of that bottle except for like 5 because you already had another bottle. They have been taking that concerta she said lol."
In messages with other cops, Boone plays the role of adviser and supplier. The texts show fellow officer Kyle Santa asking for recommendations on pills for someone named Busso — apparently a reference to St. Louis police SWAT officer Joseph Busso.
"Depends on if he wants to feel like a he feels like seeing in HD and making night turn into day (adderall) or if he just wants to feel a really really focused white guy (concerta). Adderall is essentially cocaine base in a compressed pill form....... it's pretty special. It makes u chew on ur tongue and lick ur lips like a crack head and u can't stop talking for the first 8 hours. It is also nearly impossible to get drunk AND cures hangovers in a matter of 11 minutes. I'm not even lying about ANY of that Kyle? Lol I'm serious!"
Boone added: "I'll give him some of each so he can experiment."
The filings include a string of texts between Boone and Detective Marcin Zajac over two days in May 2018. The first day, Zajac tells Boone to "bring the pills."
The next day, Zajac describes feeling "very energized" and "happy."
Boone writes: "Hahahaha your motivation and energy should be through the roof! It's good stuff. And lasts all day."
When Zajac writes that he wants to have his doctor give him more and asks for the name, Boone tells him it's Mydayis. It's a prescription medication that contains amphetamine.
Apparently, none of the messages or details contained in the prosecution's filings are things that Boone and his attorney wish to see out in the open, much less at trial. In the request for sanctions, they ask not only for prosecutors to be punished but for the judge to order even the redacted version of the memo to be pulled from a publicly accessible court filing site.
Prosecutors responded today, noting that they had previously notified Boone and his attorney that they intended to introduce the information at trial and had read some texts and summarized others in telling them that.
Prosecutors argue that the redacted filing falls in line with the court orders. They don't take a position on whether the redacted filing should be retroactively sealed, but they note the texts would be discussed in the open during a court hearing.
Sealed or not, prosecutors argue, Boone's texts were going to become public.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information from the St. Louis police department.
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