Former Rikers Island, NY, corrections officer Brian Coll was sentenced 30 years in prison on Wednesday. Coll violated the civil rights of 52-year-old inmate Ronald Spear by repeatedly kicking the pre-trial detainee in the head, which caused brain bleeding and a heart attack. Spear died December 2012 as a result of his injuries.

Coll, 48, was convicted of falsifying records, conspiring to cover up the beating of Spear, who was restrained, and for obstruction of justice. Federal District Court Judge Lorretta A. Preska described the attack against Spear as vicious and callous.

Spear was sick when kicked to death

Spear was outside a doctor’s office at Riker’s Island jail when Coll kicked him to death while other corrections officers pinned the ailing inmate face down on the floor. Spear, who often walked with a cane, had diabetes and end-stage kidney disease, which required dialysis. According to prosecutors, Spear also wore a bracelet indicating that he was at “risk of fall,” the New York Times reported.

He was being held on a burglary charge in the jail’s infirmary unit. Spear learned that he couldn’t see a doctor immediately and became agitated. Spear and Coll got into a dispute, according to evidence prosecutors presented at the former guard’s trial in December 2016.

Corrections colleague testified about guard’s attack on inmate

Anthony Torres cooperated with the government and testified that he was the guard who tackled Spear. He stated that Byron Taylor, another guard, assisted him in pinning Spear to the floor. Torres also testified that Coll kicked Spear in the side of the head several times, after screaming at the inmate.

When describing the attack against Spear, Torres broke down. He stated that Coll told Spear, “Remember I did this," the New York Post relayed.

Prosecutors asserted that the cover-up commenced nearly immediately after Spear died, the Times noted. Both Torres and Taylor pleaded guilty to having helped cover up the attack against Spear.

At his sentencing on Wednesday, Coll told the judge that he was sorry Spear died and that he isn’t a cold and callous. He claimed that he lost control of himself and did not intend to kill Spear. He additionally disputed that kicking the inmate in the head led to Spear’s death.

Killer guard kept trophy of attack in his bedroom

Judge Preska pointed out that Coll kept a trophy in his bedroom. The former corrections officer had a framed newspaper report, which included his photo, about the case among his décor. She also stated that another guard tried to block Coll from kicking Spear while additional officers told him to stop.

Brooke Cucinella, Assistant U.S. Attorney, told the judge that the pain Coll caused for the victim’s family was prolonged as a result of Coll falsely claiming that Spear precipitated the attack.

Coll had alleged that the victim swung his cane at him, PIX11 reported. “The cover-up,” she said, “was just as horrific as the crime.”

In delivering the 30-year Prison Sentence in the Manhattan courtroom, Judge Preska said the stiff penalty was needed to deter a “culture of violence” at Rikers jail. The punishment she imposed was more severe than the request by prosecutors, who sought a sentence close to 30 years for Coll. She characterized the deadly attack on Spear and sentencing as “a serious offense that requires a serious punishment,” the New York Post noted.

The Legal Aid Society represented Spear's family in a class action civil suit against the city. As a result of a settlement with his family, the city paid $2.75 million – one of the largest amounts for violence against an inmate, according to the Post.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim stated that the U.S. Constitution extends protections to everyone, including people who are incarcerated.