Man alleges torture in SLO County Jail

June 28, 2017

Jeremiah Mobley

By KAREN VELIE

Jeremiah Mobley knew he needed help. So, he called 9-1-1 to report he was having mental health issues and needed assistance. But instead of receiving mental health treatment, deputies placed the man into full body restraints and locked him in a cell at the San Luis Obispo County Jail.

After his time in county custody, Jeremiah Mobley said he continues to have panic attacks and a fear of law enforcement officers.

On Jan. 21, Mobley learned that his cousin was in critical condition at a hospital in San Luis Obispo. Along with his mother Terrie Spencer and his aunt, Mobley traveled from Lodi to the Travel Lodge on Monterey Street in San Luis Obispo.

On the morning of Jan 22, Mobley called 9-1-1 from the hotel several times asking for help because he felt out of sorts, according to the police log.

Shortly after 7 a.m., officers arrived to find Mobley waiting for them outside his hotel room. Mobley, a long-distance truck driver, then remembered he had a knife in a sheath on his belt and told the officers he wanted them to be aware he had the knife.

The officers then threw Mobley to the ground, handcuffed him, took the knife and told his mother and his aunt they were transporting Mobley to the county’s mental health facility.

However, while Mobley waited in the police car, county mental health staffers informed the officers that there was not a bed available. One officer then transported Mobley to jail, and another officer went back to the Travel Lodge and spoke with Terrie Spencer, Mobley’s mother, according to the radio log of the incident.

“The officer told me the hospital was full so they would have to take Jeremiah to jail, but they would never follow through on any charges,” Spencer said. “The officer gave Mobley’s knife to me and said he was sorry.”

SLO Police Department officials said in an email last week that Mobey was arrested on a SLO municipal code offense regarding the knife. However, that code requires officers destroy or dispose of the knife.

A photo of a man in the full wrap restraint. Mobley was placed in the bottom half with his hands in cuffs clipped to the ring below the knees, Mobley said.

When Mobley arrived at the jail, county staff did not photograph him nor did they take his fingerprints. Instead, officers took him to the drunk tank, placed him in the bottom half of a wrap restraint, put a helmet over his head, placed handcuffs on his wrists and then hooked the two together. It was like being hogtied in the front, Mobley said.

“A guard said if you fall down, you’ll stay there,” Mobley said.

For hours, Mobley remained restrained on the floor of the frigid drunk-tank in a cell next to Andrew Holland, another man who had also suffered a mental health breakdown. Holland was strapped in a restraint chair.

Later that day, deputies stripped Mobley and then moved him, naked into a small concrete cell, with no bedding and a hole in the floor for his waste, sources familiar with the events, said.

“I was never told what I had done wrong,” Mobley said. “They never read me my rights, they didn’t book me into jail.”

Unaware of what was occurring, Mobley lay down on the concrete floor and began rubbing his eyes. Shortly after 5 p.m. on Jan. 22, guards noticed Mobley eyes were red and inflamed and asked a nurse to exam him.

Jeremiah Mobley’s booking photo transferred to grey scale

However, shortly after the nurse began examining Mobley she was called to the other side of the jail complex for a man-down call. It was for Andrew Holland. After more than 46 hours strapped in a restraint chair, guards had released Holland. A blood clot had moved from his leg to his lung. Holland died in the jail shortly after.

A jail staffer then decided to take Mobley to the hospital to have his eyes examined. As they walked through the intake area of the jail, Mobley said he noticed the words, “Holland – died in cell,” on a dry board in the intake area.

At the hospital, Mobley said he was scared and anxious and refused care.

Jail staffers then took Mobley to the jail infirmary where they placed something on his eye lids which caused him not to be able to open his eyes, Mobley said. The guards then took Mobley back to intake where they took his booking photo and fingerprints.

After another stint in the drunk tank, on Jan. 23, county staff transported Mobley to the county mental health facility.

During his time at the county jail, Mobley said, he was never offered food and only provided two small cups of water.

“I was so thirsty, I almost drank out of the toilet,” Mobley said.

Mobley’s wrist, photo taken on June 10.

After spending one night in the custody of county mental health, a family member agreed to purchase Mobley a bus ticket to his home town. A county staffer then drove Mobley to the San Luis Obispo train station so that he could board a bus headed out of the county.

After several minutes on the bus, Mobley stood up and refused to sit back down. The bus driver then asked Mobley to leave the bus, said Manuel Reyes, a ticket salesman at the train station. After spending more than an hour in the train station restroom, Reyes called law enforcement officers who drove Mobley back to SLO County’s mental health facility where he spent approximately a week.

Mobley was never charged with a crime. Four months after he called 9-1-1 seeking help, the scars on his wrists from the restraints are still visible and his vision has not returned to normal, he says.







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17 Comments

  1. straddle says:

    Common thread I see in these stories is no beds available at the mental hospital.

    (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
  2. sweethome says:

    No wonder the FBI said that SLO county is the most corrupt county in the USA (after the Corey Pierce investigation/arrest). When will the Bullies with Badges policy ever end?

    (-1) 11 Total Votes - 5 up - 6 down

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