A former Allegheny County Jail guard pleaded guilty today to deprivation of civil rights related to the 2010 beating of an inmate.
Arii L. Metz, 34, of Perry North, repeatedly struck David Kipp, who was jailed on drug possession and assault charges. Mr. Kipp suffered a broken nose, perforated ear drum and cuts and bruises, Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy L. Johnston said.
According to another former guard who witnessed the event, Mr. Metz "walked up to Kipp and started punching him without any provocation from Kipp," Ms. Johnston told U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer.
Ms. Johnston said the government believes Mr. Metz should get around three and a half to four years in prison.
Attorney James Wymard, representing Mr. Metz, painted a much different picture and said he will argue for probation.
He said the altercation happened only after Mr. Kipp, jailed primarily for fighting with his male partner but under the influence of mind-altering drugs, compelled Mr. Metz and other guards to drag him out of one cell while clinging to a commode and "taunting" jail staff. Then, said Mr. Wymard, Mr. Kipp "was striking his head against the [second cell] door" and "smearing blood all over the cell."
Mr. Wymard said that Mr. Metz then hit Mr. Kipp "more than once, when he went in [the cell] the last time, seeking to calm him down."
Ms. Johnston said the government will show at sentencing photos of Mr. Kipp when he entered jail virtually uninjured, after the cell extraction when he showed minor redness of the face, and then following Mr. Metz's punches, when he had "significant swelling" in part from a broken nose that required surgery.
Sentencing was set for June 18.
Mr. Kipp, now 26, later pleaded guilty to simple assault for the fight with his patner and was sentenced to probation. He has sued Mr. Metz, two other former corrections officers who were on hand during the incident, jail medical provider Allegheny Correctional Health Services and its chief operating officer, Dana Phillips. He has claimed that although injured, he was denied hospital care.
Mr. Kipp's civil attorney, Patrick W. Murray, could not be immediately reached.
One of the two other former officers, Marcia Williams, 40, of the North Side, was found guilty at an August trial of official oppression, obstruction of law enforcement and unsworn falsification to authorities, and was sentenced to probation. The third, Timothy C. Miller, was fired but not charged and is expected to be a witness against Mr. Metz at sentencing.
Rich Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord