Man beaten in Allegheny County Jail testifies in civil case

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A man beaten in the Allegheny County Jail in 2010 testified today that afterward he fell into an extended period of depression and drug abuse before recently emerging into clean living and steady employment.

David Kipp, 26, was a resident of Polish Hill when he was arrested on Oct. 12, 2010, for assaulting his boyfriend and for drug possession.

Former jail corrections officer Arii Metz, 34, of Perry North, has pleaded guilty to deprivation of civil rights and confirmed that he struck Mr. Kipp in the face. He awaits sentencing.

Mr. Metz and fellow former corrections officer Marcia Williams are the only remaining defendants in Mr. Kipp's lawsuit. Because neither defended themselves, they were both judged to be in default.

Today's hearing before U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry was scheduled to sort out the damages suffered by Mr. Kipp. Mr. Metz attended, but opted not to testify or present argument.

Mr. Kipp testified in a flat voice, while looking at a wall and away from Mr. Metz, that he suffered a broken nose and perforated ear drum, among other physical injuries.

"After I got out, I was diagnosed with PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder," he said, characterizing his symptoms as "vivid nightmares, night terrors, heightened anxiety, phobias of certain places and people."

Mr. Kipp said that because of depression, he moved from using soft drugs to opiates, along with psychiatric medicines.

"I ended up becoming addicted to the opiates," he said, adding that he has been clean since January 2012.

In November, he finally got work, as a telephone survey operator.

Judge McVerry will next decide on the money value of Mr. Kipp's pain and suffering.

Judge McVerry previously dismissed the county and the former warden from the lawsuit, and Mr. Kipp's attorney, Patrick Murray, said he may appeal that ruling.

Judge McVerry asked Mr. Murray to tell him how much the jail's medical contractor, Allegheny Correctional Health Services, paid to settle the accusations that it did not provide adequate care.

Mr. Murray said that settlement is confidential and he will provide the amount to the judge in a letter.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has asked the county to provide that settlement agreement, arguing that it stems from vendor Allegheny Correctional's provision of a core governmental function.

The county has refused, and the Post-Gazette has appealed to the state Office of Open Records.

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Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 and on Twitter: @richelord.


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