Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that BRIAN COLL, a former New York City Correction Officer, was convicted of causing the death of Ronald Spear, a pre-trial detainee at Rikers Island. COLL, then a correction officer on Rikers Island, had been charged in a superseding indictment returned on November 17, 2016, with causing Mr. Spear’s death by repeatedly kicking him in the head while he was restrained and lying prone on the floor, in violation of his rights under the United States Constitution. Mr. Spear died shortly after the attack. COLL was arrested on a complaint on June 10, 2015, and has been in federal custody since that time. COLL was convicted after a 10-day trial before U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska.
Statement Of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara On The Conviction Of Former Rikers Island Correction Officer Brian Coll
“Today, a unanimous jury in Manhattan federal court affirmed that the protections of the U.S. Constitution extend into the walls of our prisons, including Rikers Island. For his brutal and heartless beating of 52-year-old Ronald Spear, a sickly Rikers inmate, and his lies to cover it up, Brian Coll now stands convicted of serious federal crimes. As the evidence at trial established, Coll killed Spear by repeatedly kicking him in the head as he lay restrained on the ground, telling him before he died not to forget who did this to him. The FBI investigators and career prosecutors on this case did not forget. And today, neither did the jury.”