Former MCSO detention officer sentenced to jail time for assaults

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX -- A former detention officer for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office will spent one year on the other side of the jail bars.

Kevin Gerster was sentenced Friday to one year in the Maricopa County Jail after pleading guilty to two counts of aggravated assault, which is a Class 4 felony.

The former detention officer originally was charged with five counts of aggravated assault. Gerster was also accused of looking up the address of an ex-inmate for a friend.

Deputies arrested Gerster last November after video of him assaulting two inmates surfaced. Gerster resigned from the MCSO on Dec. 1.
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In one jail surveillance video from Nov. 11, 2010, Gerster is seen stepping on the neck of an inmate at the Lower Buckeye Jail. William Hughes was restrained, bent over a table and surrounded by three other detention officers at the time. Gerster also punched Hughes in the back and leg.

The investigation into Gerster's behavior was launched after fellow officers told their supervisor they saw Gerster assaulting Hughes.

A second video from June 5, 2010 showed Gerster walking into a room and punching an inmate, breaking his jaw. Miguel Flores was restrained, cuffed to a bed at the time.

"This was an unfortunate case involving Gerster, however the overwhelming majority of my Detention Officers are excellent, hardworking, and ethical employees," Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said in a statement to the media.

Gerster's first assault charge carried a sentence on one year in jail and two years probation. The second carried a sentence of six months in jail and two years probation. Those sentences will run concurrently.

For unauthorized access to criminal records, Gerster will serve one year of probation.