Federal indictments unsealed in 2016 Taser incident at Cheatham Co. Jail

The lawsuit claims Jordan Norris suffered more than 40 Taser burns. (8-2-17)

ASHLAND CITY, TN (WSMV) - A sergeant at the Cheatham County Jail has pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with a Taser incident in 2016.

In federal court on Tuesday, Sgt. Gary Ola accepted a plea agreement for two counts of making false statements to FBI agents.

Ola, 54, was indicted on June 26. Authorities pursued charges because they believed Ola lied about his knowledge of another corrections officer using a Taser on a restrained inmate.

Former Cpl. Mark Bryant allegedly used a Taser on inmate Jordan Norris four times for a total of 50 seconds while the man was restrained in a chair in 2016.

In a second incident that same night, Bryant allegedly used a Taser on Norris for approximately 11 seconds "without legitimate justification" when Norris was in handcuffs and surrounded by multiple officers.

As part of Ola's plea agreement, he admitted to lying during two separate interviews with federal agents who were investigating the Taser incident. He said he lied because he feared retaliation if he reported Bryant's actions.

The first interview was in August 2017. Federal officials said Ola told agents with the FBI and TBI that he walked away when Bryant was allegedly tasing Norris and did not see Bryant commit one or more Taser cycles on the man.

In May 2018, Ola made a second false report to federal agents, saying he did not see Bryant use a Taser on the detainee after he was placed in handcuffs.

Part of the incident was captured on surveillance video obtained by News4.

Officials say due to the combined incidents of "unjustified use of force," Norris sustained bodily injury.

Norris was found dead in March 2018 at a home in Pegram. The Norris family sent News4 a copy of the autopsy, which states the cause of death as suspected overdose. His family believes the the tasing incident also played a role in his death.

Ola faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,00 fine for each count. His sentencing date has not yet been set.

Bryant is charged in a separate indictment with two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law and two counts of obstruction of justice. His trial is scheduled for 2019.

Ola has reportedly agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors and testify against Bryant.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Reporter

Kim St. Onge joined the News4 team as a reporter in January 2017.

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