Sanitized for Joe's Protection

Sheriff's summary of probe into inmate's death omits alarming details

Bushor also admits that the inmates, looking out of the holding tank's window, had a better vantage point.

Two inmates, interviewed separately, give investigators particularly intriguing and consistent accounts of what ignited Norberg's brawl with jailers. They say Norberg was in a half-conscious state, sitting on the cell's floor with his back to the door when Detention Officer David Gurney opened it and tried to get Norberg's attention. Norberg ignored Gurney's command to stand up for an initial appearance with Judge Bushor. So Gurney moved toward Norberg and prodded him. That's when, the inmates say, Norberg suddenly stood up, spooking Gurney. Norberg's move wasn't aggressive, the inmates say, but Gurney nonetheless reacted by knocking Norberg over and sparking the free-for-all.

Gurney's version of the incident doesn't differ much from that of the two inmates. Gurney tells investigators that he was surprised by Norberg's sudden move, but he argues that he made a conscious decision to grasp Norberg because the inmate's fists were clenched. That sign of aggression--even though Norberg was facing away--justified flattening the inmate, Gurney claims.

After that, detention officers tell investigators, they simply reacted to Norberg's surprising strength.

Even after he was handcuffed and pinned, detention officers say, the former college football player continued to struggle and throw officers like a bucking bronc. The jailers became determined to lock Norberg down so he couldn't fight anymore.

They succeeded.
Explains one officer to his interrogator: "Norberg never said he couldn't breathe.

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