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Ex-NYC jail guard pleads not guilty to federal charges stemming from 2012 inmate beating death


NEW YORK — A former New York City jail guard has pleaded not guilty to federal charges stemming from the 2012 beating death of a Rikers Island inmate.

Brian Coll entered the plea Thursday in Manhattan. Federal prosecutors say Coll caused the death of Ronald Spear by repeatedly kicking him in the head.

The 45-year-old Coll and a colleague were arrested in June. Charges alleging he injured Spear were upgraded to charges alleging he caused his death.

Spear was being held on a burglary charge. The city has settled a lawsuit over his death for $2.75 million.

Coll's lawyer, Sam Schmidt, said Thursday that the medical examiner's records make him believe that prosecutors are overreaching with the upgraded charges. He says the defense will be able to show that at a May 31 trial.

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