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. circlingthedrain says:

    Torture and sadism are obviously common at our local jail. They do not seem to like the mentally ill and seem to use the fact they are in the jail as an excuse to humiliate and hurt them–sometimes to the point of death. How on earth no legal charges have been brought here is just another sick story. A story where the police no longer protect and serve-but inflict pain and suffering.

    (1) 11 Total Votes - 6 up - 5 down
  2. demiseofslo says:

    Why doesn’t someone with CCN go and have a 60 minutes style interview with Parkinson?

    Put all the questions out on the table. I would like to hear his excuses for this shit.

    Ask him why inmates are dying all the time, why they’re served stale bread, and when will he be planning on resigning.

    He is the epitome of a douchebag who refuses to own up to anything or even acknowledge what is going on.

    (12) 26 Total Votes - 19 up - 7 down
    • DocT says:

      Good question, demiseofslo!

      Why doesn’t CCN interview Parkinson? I’m going to toss out a random guess:

      Because Parkinson doesn’t need the interview, doesn’t want the interview and doesn’t like the idea of an interview by a non-team player!

      Cipolla is paid a salary by the sheriff and dutifully reports to KSBY and the Tribune. Anything Parkinson wants us to know will come through him. Tony Cipolla reports what the sheriff wants us to know and he does it very well.

      Why risk a bunch of other viewpoints and other opinions? People might get the wrong idea. Therefore, there will be no CCN interview. People might hear something that isn’t helpful, or draw conclusions that aren’t in line with the sheriff’s goals, etc. On top of all that, CCN has proved it is not a team player. CCN comes across as wanting to inform the public which is against the policy of the sheriff and the police departments.

      Too risky. No upside. Propaganda is best. The public gets too agitated over broken laws, corruption, a string of deaths in the jail, police dogs chewing serfs to death, noblemen driving drunk and making false statements on autopsies, big money spent on boats to catch terrorists and drug dealers……all kinds of stuff.

      The public can’t handle all the information. They can’t be trusted to think the right way, come to the right conclusions, trust the right people, etc.

      We can’t handle the truth! So no interview.

      (11) 21 Total Votes - 16 up - 5 down
  3. jana says:

    There are several issues at work here. First, the idea that police know they are dealing with a mentally ill man and when county mental health refuses to accept him they automatically default to the jail is shameful. Shame on the police and shame on the sheriff. Does the sheriff know how to say “NO”. Parkinson you run the jail and you get to say who gets booked into it. How about running a little interference for your people and not bending them over so that you can keep good relations with the police chiefs, BOS and other county officials by accepting mentally ill people on trumped up charges because county mental health doesn’t have bed space.

    The second issue is that county mental health has played this “were are out of space” crap with law enforcement for years. You will not find a bigger bunch of people putting in so much effort to get out of doing their jobs than county mental health.

    The third issue is that our county supervisors have paid LIP SERVICE to funding mental health in this county for over twenty five years. It doesn’t matter if it was a liberal board or a conservative board, they haven’t done a damn thing to fix the problem. If anyone thinks that the current board is going to seriously fix mental health services, unless forced to do so as part of a civil settlement with the Holland family, they are “high”.

    “Ding Dong” Peshong, “Giddy” Arnold, “Hot Mess” Compton, “Off His Meds” Hill and the “Smartest Man in the Room” Gibson all own the mess that is our county mental health system. They can fire the director or the doctors, but the buck stops with them… They ALL should be held accountable on Election Day.

    The fourth issue is the Sheriff and his department. Someone asked who holds him accountable?
    The answer is “We do sweetie.” The sheriff is an autonomous elected official. The board of supervisors cannot control him, nor the governor, nor the attorney general.

    It is up to us to control the sheriff and all of the county elected officials, but if nobody worth a damn runs against any of them, don’t be surprised when they are returned to office again and again. Sheriff Parkinson’s predecessor, Pat Hedges, won three terms as sheriff, before he retired. I expect that this current sheriff will run for a third, fourth and maybe fifth term before he retires and if he is doing such as bad job I would expect a qualified candidate step up in the election next year and challenge his running of the jail.

    The bottom line here is these elected officials are our employees and we need to remind them of that fact by occasionally sacrificing one of them by turning them out of office. That can only happen if credible, qualified people step up to run against them.

    (19) 35 Total Votes - 27 up - 8 down
  4. retiredpoliceofficer says:

    When will we get rid of Parkinson and his band of thugs? It’s time to recall him!

    (34) 62 Total Votes - 48 up - 14 down
  5. Cindy says:

    This is a very sad story. I can’t imagine what a person who is having an anxiety/panic attack would feel while being treated like this. There really is no excuse for this sort of treatment of a distressed human being. Never call 911 because you’re depressed or anxious unless you plan on committing suicide in the next hour. If you have no where to turn, try going to a church, any church. Call the Pastor or the Priest or whoever runs the church that you pick. Most all clergy are trained to consul those with mental distress and if they can’t help you, they’ll find help for you. You don’t have to be a believer to ask them for help.

    (41) 57 Total Votes - 49 up - 8 down
    • DocT says:

      Indeed. Every encounter with the police is a potentially deadly encounter. If you call them, you increase your chances of death or injury by a huge factor.

      If they’re nervous, they shoot. If they’re angry, they beat. They look out for themselves first….(officer safety is number one! We’re number two) and they all see that protection of the department trumps protection of the disgusting serfs whom they must enforce the law on day after day….until they retire as millionaires in 20 years.

      Calling the police is not good for your health and longevity.

      (1) 21 Total Votes - 11 up - 10 down
  6. SLOBIRD says:

    I seriously believe this is not a problem for the Sheriff’s Dept but rather our Mental Health Department. People should look at the County Mental Health Budget and see the MILLIONS they receive annually, yet, they refuse to house more than 5/6 patients at a time although they have rooms for many more. It is the Mental Health Department’s to address the mental condition of the citizens, not the law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement should assist Mental Health, not be the lead and shame on the care and treatment in our mental health community. They only want to do appointment therapy and have no regard for the serious mental health patients in need of institutional housing.

    (57) 65 Total Votes - 61 up - 4 down
    • CentralcoastRN says:

      You aren’t going to like my answer.

      The County Mental Health facility does not have enough staff because they are not paying them enough. The staff can work at CMC or ASH and make about $20 an hour more and have pension/benefits. Additionally, there is extensive training and effective policy management in place at CMC and ASH that protect the staff and inmates/patients.

      From everything I have heard from those “in the know” at SLO County jail and the county in general, there are not current and effective policies in place. There is not enough staffing for the jail medical, and deputies are officers and NOT health care workers.

      When you don’t have enough health care workers and space, you cannot open enough “beds’ to inmates at MH. Therefore, these human beings have to go somewhere for their own protection, and the jail is the only other facility the county has.

      The county needs to:

      1. Expand the jail (which I think they are working on)

      2. Expand mental health facilities by hiring quality staff and paying them, and by finding more suitable space if space is the issue.

      3. Pay. The Board of Supervisors needs to recognize that Public Health is not simply “nice”. It is freaking NECESSARY. You can only police your County so much. The Board of Supervisors needs to understand that drug use and mental health issues are a Public Health PROBLEM. And like it or not, SLO county has a PROBLEM. They need to look at spending, they need to look FAIRLY at pay. Otherwise you cannot recruit and retain quality people.

      4. Prevention SAVES money. Study after study show that for every $1 spent on prevention, $4 in health care dollars are saved. Don’t believe me? I wonder how much money these upcoming lawsuits will cost. This is why greedy health insurance companies pay for/cover preventive care. It’s not because they care, it is because identifying your high cholesterol is CHEAPER than a bypass surgery.

      The current administration will not listen to employees. Instead, they want to confiscate the cell phones of whistleblowers.

      I am so sorry for people who have been mistreated when all they wanted is help. I am angry for them. We must protect those who are most vulnerable in our society.

      (51) 57 Total Votes - 54 up - 3 down
  7. diamond says:

    There is an overwhelming number of mentally ill roaming the streets of wealthy San Luis Obispo keeping mental health facilities at full capacity. This leads to incoming patients being dumped at the jail or released back on to the streets. This is not anything new but the lack of oversight and abnormally high death count under Parkinson has been documented over and over. Perhaps the director of the animal shelter should change jobs with Parkinson as homeless dogs live in better conditions. Pretty boy Parkinson has had more than enough chances to do his well paid job yet seems preoccupied promoting himself. Parkinson should work as hard at his position as he did acquiring an unnecessary status symbol taxpayer toy boat for his department that has yielded zero results yet continually costs taxpayers to maintain. I don’t know who has oversight on Parkinson but they also are not doing their job. How much death and torture is allowed before someone steps in? Parkinson should be out as he has proven time and again he is not capable of the responsibility, nor has he taken necessary steps to correct deplorable inhumane conditions at Parkinson’s Kansas Street death and torture chamber. Someone needs to call for a federal investigation of Parkinson.

    (41) 53 Total Votes - 47 up - 6 down
  8. DocT says:

    Never talk to the police unless it is to inform them you’re exercising your right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.

    Do not call them. Do not offer to help them….and for God’s sake don’t ask them for help! Protecting and Serving are foreign concepts to police. They enforce the law. And in their eyes all of us need some law enforced on us, especially if we’re having a bad day.

    (41) 71 Total Votes - 56 up - 15 down
  9. RC10thst says:

    Cal coast news. You should report how many inmates have commented suicide in that jail.That no one ever hears about. I know that a man killed himself in there a few weeks ago.
    It is so sad when people call 911 for mental health and end up in jail instead of getting the help they need.

    (40) 54 Total Votes - 47 up - 7 down
    • Karen Velie says:

      Please contact me at 805-234-1703

      (16) 32 Total Votes - 24 up - 8 down
      • RC10thst says:

        I will get the guys name from the person who told me this and call you tomorrow. If was either his cell mate or the inmate next to his cell. They had become friends over 3 weeks of talking back and forth. Than he hung himself.

        (9) 21 Total Votes - 15 up - 6 down

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