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Published December 28 2010

Man gets year in officer assault

A 27-year-old man was sentenced Monday to one year and one day in prison for assaulting a Fargo police officer who was preparing to pat him down before his trip to the hospital for detoxification.

Norman Bluecoat will receive credit for the 108 days he has spent in the Cass County Jail since the Sept. 14 incident, District Court Judge Wickham Corwin ordered after accepting Bluecoat’s change of plea to guilty.

Fargo police said an F-M Ambulance crew responding to a report of a man down asked for an officer to pat Bluecoat down before putting him in the ambulance.

Bluecoat punched the officer in the chest and grabbed the officer’s ear, digging in with his fingernails and causing the officer to bleed, said Bluecoat’s public defender, Monty Mertz, who referred to the police report in court.

Mertz said Bluecoat sustained more severe injuries as the officer punched him four to five times. He called the state’s recommended sentence of four years in prison “ridiculous, absurd and reprehensible.”

“This was a scuffle with a drunk guy,” Mertz said. “The officer basically beat the crap out of him.”

Bluecoat, whose address in court records is listed as Eagle Butte, S.D., was charged with felony counts of simple assault and preventing arrest. Corwin gave him concurrent sentences and also recommended he receive treatment for alcoholism.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528