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Ex-Rikers Island correction officer guilty of violating inmate’s civil rights

Brian Coll, 47, left, a former Rikers Island

Brian Coll, 47, left, a former Rikers Island guard from Smithtown, was found guilty on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, of violating the civil rights of inmate Ronald Spear, right, whom he repeatedly kicked as the prisoner lay restrained on the ground, causing Spears' death in 2012. Photo Credit: NYC DOI; Zoe Salzman

A Manhattan jury on Thursday found a former Rikers Island correction officer guilty of violating an inmate’s civil rights when he repeatedly kicked the prisoner in the head as he lay restrained on the ground in 2012, killing him.

Brian Coll, 47, was also found guilty of four other charges related to the cover-up of the beating of Ronald Spear, 52.

“Justice has been done for my son,” said Spear’s stepmother, Margarette Daniels, 71, of the Bronx.

Daniels and Spear’s sister, Deneen Cobbs, 52, also of the Bronx, showed their gratitude to jurors by clapping gently as the panel of seven women and five men left the courtroom.

“It doesn’t bring him back, but justice was delivered,” Cobbs said in an interview after the verdict.

At the time of the beating on Dec. 19, 2012, Spear had been on Rikers for about three months awaiting trial on burglary charges. Spear was ill with diabetes, heart disease and end-stage renal disease that required regular dialysis, according to prosecutors.

Coll, who worked at Rikers for a decade before he left in 2014, faces up to life imprisonment on a charge that he violated Spear’s civil rights to be free from excessive force. He is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Preska on April 24 for sentencing.

His attorney, Sam A. Schmidt, of Manhattan, said Coll will appeal.

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