A Douglas County grand jury has finished its investigations into the deaths of four people who died while in police or jail custody. The grand jury returned a “No True Bill” which means there was no criminal conduct on the part of any individual.
Judge James T. Gleason directed that a single grand jury be convened to investigate all four deaths since it would be beneficial, efficient, and cost effective to county taxpayers.
Here are some of the details of the deaths:
Albert Martel died March 23, 2011 while in custody of the Omaha Correctional Center. It was determined that he died of natural causes, specifically a combination of atherosclerotic artery disease and myocardial hypertrophy which most likely resulted in acute myocardial infarct and/or fatal arrhythmia.
Bradley R. Hartz died April 8, 2011 while he was being apprehended by law enforcement in the area of 15th & B. Officers were in the process of serving a warrant when he put up a fight. It was determined that his death was attributed to non-specific cardiomegaly and coronary atherosclerosis.
John High died September 18, 2011 while in custody of the Omaha Correctional Center. It was determined that he died of an overdose of fentanyl.
David C. Cermack died April 6, 2011 while being apprehended by law enforcement. It was determined he died as the result of multiple, penetrating gunshot wounds to the neck, chest and abdomen. Officers were serving a search warrant near 3rd and Cedar when he opened fire, wounding Douglas County Deputy Tom Flynn. Officers returned fire.
Nebraska state law requires a grand jury investigate the death of anyone who is in custody or was in the process of being placed in custody.