New York

Federal civil rights trial under way in Rikers beating death

A federal civil rights trial is underway in New York City for a former Rikers Island guard accused of fatally beating an ailing inmate while the man was restrained and lying on the floor.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeannette Vargas told jurors Friday that defendant Brian Coll abused his power by "savagely" kicking inmate Ronald Spear to death in December 2012.

Defense lawyer Joshua Dratel (DRAY'-tehl) says Spear aggressively resisted guards' attempts to restrain him. He says Coll is not responsible for Spear's death.

The encounter occurred outside a jail doctor's office. Spear had been receiving regular dialysis treatments and needed a cane to walk.

Prosecutors also say Coll got other guards to lie about what happened.

New York City previously paid out $2.75 million to Spear's family.