Norby Personal Retrospective
By former State Assemblyman Chris Norby
Since my personal challenges of 2014 received such play in your medium, this update might be of interest.
On March 12, 2014, three Fullerton Police officers entered my home without my permission, arrested me, handcuffed me in front of my children, hauled me to the police station, set my bail at $10,000 and locked me in a jail cell. They did so based on a report without independent witnesses or evidence and with me suffering an obvious eye injury aggravated that very day.
I told them of a December 17 optometrist’s report specifically listing “spousal abuse” as the original cause my eye injury. Instead of listening, they became hostile and argumentative forcing me to remove the bandage over my eye.
For two months I was unable to return home and was kept away from my four children, who frequently left me voice mails in vain seeking homework help and rides to school activities.
The D.A. took no action after finding no evidence and the accounts contradictory. During Family Court civil hearing, two independent witnesses testified personally of the physical abuse I had suffered. There were none against me. Judge Lon Hurwitz observed that all evidence pointed to me as being the real victim and dismissed the case. Husbands are common victims of domestic abuse, but are far less likely to report it or be believed.
Many have ascribed political motivations to my arrest. My bills in Sacramento on asset seizure and public disclosure brought strong opposition from law enforcement, and police unions spent heavily to defeat me in 2012. Locally, my activism for Kelly Thomas (beaten to death by Fullerton police officers in 2011) and my friendship with blogger and police critic Tony Bushala were well known. Some have said my arrest was to quash a future run for City Council.
It’s difficult to believe that what happened to me was standard police procedure, but I know people have suffered far worse injustices—even death—because of such misconduct. I have greater appreciation for them now.
After being cleared, after two months separation from my kids, after losing my life savings to legal costs, after being dragged through the mud in the media, I was allowed to return home last May. I have since become a single father and sole support for my four children, ages 3-16, who all live with me. Their mother sees them only on weekends.
All life is a learning experience, a process. With 28 years of elective office behind me, I’ll continue to be involved and comment on issues of importance. However, my main daily efforts will be on family life, especially the gift of late fatherhood to my 4-year old son, Johnny.
–Chris Norby / 714-813-5899