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Natatia Bledsoe is the public information officer for the Fredericksburg Police Department.

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Update to death investigation

Here’s the latest information concerning the ongoing in-custody death investigation of Norman Berryman.  Mr. Berryman died while being taken into custody following a disturbance in the 300 block of Palmer Street on December 16.

A search warrant was executed at 323 Palmer Street during the early morning on December 31.  The search warrant resulted in the arrest of Jesse Lee Colbert, 41, of the home.  Colbert has been charged with felony distribution of cocaine and is incarcerated at the Rappahannock Regional Jail.  While the official cause of his death is still undetermined, it is believed that Mr. Berryman ingested cocaine and PCP in the hours prior to his death.  The investigation continues.

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/citypolice/2011/01/04/update-to-death-investigation/

  • Diane Beverly

    Recreational drug use? No such thing…

  • Chris

    Is there an investigation into why the resue squad was not called first ?
    If so, How long does it take to ask the officer to answer the question and then give us his reply?
    Oh please,please please tell us.
    Can you tell us or do we get another arrest story?
    Roscoe P. Coltrain in hot pursuit!

  • Natatia Bledsoe

    Chris,
    The officer arrived on the scene at 2:25 am, the rescue squad was dipatched at 2:33 am, as soon as the officer realized that Mr. Berryman was in medical distress. Due to Mr. Berryman’s combativeness, rescue squad personnel would not have been able to enter the scene safely any earlier.

    A side note regarding the posting of comments: if you do not provide a valid email address, then I will not allow your comments to be published.

    Natatia Bledsoe

  • Chris

    I understand that it must be hard to be constantly under scrutinizing eyes and comments all the time, especially after an ordeal took place like this one. I did however make a joke of my question directed at whom ever is giving us the information and that was not a good thing and I sorry for that, I am not certain nor do I really care whom exactly the words come from but, I just can not understand why the police did not call for medical IMEDIATELY when the call came in and someone said he was acting strange and on something. I just feel that in todays world of drug availability that the P.D should be more than aware and ready at all times for this situation. Drugs of many types are a common thing and an excuse of “he was combative or was not going to hold still for the medics is just not acceptable any more unless he has a weapon or is obviously tougher than Mike Tyson. I know that the police are ready to shoot me for these statements but, They do have the manpower and tools to take him down correctly strap him to a stretcher and get him under somewhat of a controlled nature and be able to revive, give him oxygen, calm him, warm him, or what ever is available to help. Throwing him in a backseat and such is not the answer. I am sorry if you do not agree with me or understand the real meaning. I am not just attacking the force, I am trying to say that sometimes more compassion and understanding Could or may save a life. If the arresting officers can sleep at night knowing they did the right thing, Then very good, if not they will be found out by someone in a higher position. I hope the right thing was done, but the lack of more detailed statements is making me question what really happened. I do not know,
    As for the side note, I have entered my correct and real email address. If you are linked to Fredericksburg.com then you will be blocked by the security because of all of their pop ups and junk, My emails are coming from that account. On a side note: NO ONE SHOULD HAVE ANY OF OUR EMAIL ADDRESSES ANYWAY AND SHOULD ONLY BE VIEWED BY THE APPROPRIATE FLS IT PERSON IF NEEDED. I have read a few of the back and forth arguments on here about who is running this blotter and I am starting to feel like there is something very strange about who is doing what. If this is owned by the police department then you have the duty of informing the public of this. If not then you do not have thae right to view our private email addresses.
    If you guys can not entertain arguments on the subject matter in which you are inviting people to comment on , Then I suggest it be ended and let The Free Lance Star handle it, I am sure that they will fill you in on public views. In other words, do not get snippy when asked to tell us what we want to know. Then there will be no attitudes. Have a great day and Happy New Year

  • Natatia Bledsoe

    Chris,

    I’m going to address your concerns in somewhat reverse order. This blog is hosted by Fredericksburg.com, but it is written by me, as an employee of the Fredericksburg Police Department, and it is moderated by me. By moderated, I mean that when someone writes a comment, the comment is first sent to my email so that I may read it, approve it, and allow it to be posted. If you post a comment in the middle of the night or when I am engaged in other business, there will be a delay in its appearing online.

    I am the only person who sees your email address and I am the only person to whom you are addressing your comments, although once the comments are posted the conversation becomes public. I don’t think it is unreasonable for me to ask for a name and a valid email address if you would like to engage in a discussion on my blog. This is not an internet chat room. You may certainly ask questions and offer criticism, but please don’t expect to do so under cover of complete anonymity.

    My side remark about valid email addresses was not directed at you. I have received numerous postings from persons who provide only a fake name and a fictitious email address, yet expect to be provided a public platform from which to launch damaging statements and false information. I will not allow it.

    Regarding the death of Mr. Berryman, the officer did not know that he was under the influence of any potentially life-threatening substance when he responded to the call. The 911 caller asking for police indicated that Mr. Berryman was most likely drunk and disorderly. The officer did not receive information about the possibility of PCP use until after he began talking to Mr. Berryman and was unable to calm him down. Although it may seem that a rescue squad should be automatically dispatched on every call of this nature, the unfortunate truth is that our officers deal with people who are impaired by drugs and/or alcohol multiple times every single day. The resources simply do not exist to have a rescue squad standing by for every call that may potentially require its services.

    On the night in question, the squad personnel who responded for Mr. Berryman are members of the Fredericksburg Volunteer Rescue organization. They are volunteers who do not get paid for their service to the citizens of Fredericksburg. I stress their volunteer status only to emphasize that your suggestion that their safety should be put at risk in a volatile situation is an unreasonable expectation.

    Mr. Berryman was never placed in the back of a patrol car.

    I’m not sure how much more detail you expect or require, but I am not likely to satisfy you in that regard. You may contact me directly at any time.

    Natatia Bledsoe
    nbledsoe@pd.fredericksburgva.gov
    540-654-5701

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