Correctional officer allegedly assaulted banker in Grover Beach

September 14, 2021

BY KAREN VELIE

Grover Beach police today arrested a correctional officer at California Men’s Colony who is accused of making a racial slur against a manager at the Grover Beach Wells Fargo branch, and then attacking the bank employee as he was leaving work.

After officers arrested James Allen Jones Jr. at the prison, they booked him into the San Luis Obispo County Jail on charges of battery with serious bodily injury, committing a hate crime and making criminal threats. Jones has since been released on $50,000 bail.

On Sept. 3, Jones walked into the Wells Fargo branch on Grand Avenue in Grover Beach without a mask. The manager, a Hispanic man and Army veteran, greeted Jones and then asked him to wear a mask if he was going to do business in the lobby.

San Luis Obispo County brought back its indoor mask mandate for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people on Sept. 1.

Jones responded aggressively. The manager then offered him one of the extra masks the bank keeps for its customers, after which, Jones allegedly became more hostile.

Shortly afterwards, Jones allegedly rooted through cabinets and drawers in the bank lobby. The manager asked him to stop and warned he would call the police to remove him from the property.

Then, the suspect allegedly said, “Well, you f*ckin sp*k. Come outside,” before leaving the bank.

But at about 5:30 p.m., at the end of the manager’s shift, Jones showed up in the parking lot while the manager was trying to get into his car. Jones grabbed the manager and pushed him toward a small wall at the edge of the parking lot and began wailing on him, the bank manager told police.

The manager fought back, attempting to choke Jones. Shortly afterwards, Jones allegedly fled.

The bank manager ended up in the emergency room with a concussion and lacerations to his head, hand and face.

Grover Beach police opened an investigation into the case as a suspected hate crime and battery, though they did not release Jone’s photo, which was captured on surveillance videos.

Members of the public responded by chastising the police department for releasing photos of suspects accused of minor thefts while not releasing the photo of the bank manager’s assailant.

Police Chief John Peters responded today saying the release of Jones’ photo could have hampered the investigation.

“In this case, the distribution of preliminary information could have negatively impacted our investigative efforts and could have resulted in inaccurate witness statements, the loss of physical evidence and the suspect evading capture,” Peters said. ” Given the nature of this case, it was vital that our investigators could make progress without jeopardizing the investigation.”


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Francesca Bolognini

The fact that he felt so entitled to behave in such an antisocial manner in public and premeditate such an aggressive act suggests to me that he has gotten away with some pretty egregious behavior in the past with no consequences. Which also suggests that those at his mercy at a prison would have had an added obstacle to their sanity or any hope of rehabilitation during their incarceration. It also suggests that he was not censured by his co-workers for his behavior or attitude, which seem to have been normalized to the point of complete comfort. Any person with this level of unhinged behavior should have been removed from public service long before now.


I hope, as evidenced by some of the comments below, that this county is becoming aware that we do indeed have at least some ethnicity issues here and we will have a willingness to address them, as that will benefit the wellbeing of our entire community and make this kind of crime a thing of the past.


Jorge Estrada

What’s in a name? Another Jim Jones convinced 900 members of the Peoples Temple to drink the Kool-Aid and perish. Could this have been subliminal PTSD outburst that comes with having this name? Don’t laugh, you live In California too.


tidepool

Bye Bye career, pension, benefits, future job opportunities, and community support. Hello infamey, unemployment, judicial system, attorney costs and being a social pariah. A great example of poor impulse control and having zero foresight into the consequences of his actions.


obispan

He’ll get his pension. The only time you lose your government pension is if you are an FBI agent on the trail of the 9-11 hijackers in flight school who do not express interest in landing planes and you are subject to presidential order U-191 ending all investigations into Saudi nationals, then yes, you will lose your pension. Tell me again how you can watch the video and conclude the collapses were not controlled demolitions, courtesy of Neil Bush and Dick Cheney to justify massive, failed, middle-east intervention. Cheney famously said “we need a Pearl Harbor event” to get the public behind his plan.


ajdury

I really wish LE would stop protecting their own and instead ostracize and out their brethren who do these egregious acts. It’s shameful they are mad at US for wanting better actions from the very people we employ with our tax dollars. Do better, law enforcement. Stop committing crimes against citizens and stop protecting in defense of your “thin blue line” solidarity.


Slosum

gjoralemon and slo to load. You are assuming down the wrong trail. This IS a hate crime as described by the victim. Now who is the guy they’ve arrested? Why don’t we have his mug shot? Why can’t we see the surveillance video? Ask yourself “why? ” Maybe he’s not who you think he is. And it’s got nothing to do with where he works. I hope I’m wrong.


susieQzee

He is done for. His job is finished. He brought dishonor to his badge. Not to mention every hispanic coworker there now knows what a racist POS he really is.


gjoralemon

The subject used a racial epithet when first interacting with the victim. He left and returned to the bank at closing time with the intent of assaulting the victim. Under the law, these circumstances meet the standard of a hate crime. The subject, in my opinion has a significant challenge before him.


Downtown Bob

Chief Peter idea that the release of the photo holds some water, if they had an idea of who the suspect was. If the individual was not known, it seems odd not to release the photo.


It takes a lot of integrity and mental conditioning to work at a prison. Clearly, dealing with criminals every work day and feeling at risk can wear on mental health to where you take on attributes of the criminals you are assigned to manage. Threats and intimidation can seem normal. I think this individual has been around so many criminals and exposed to so many Covid cases that he probably feels singled out to wear a mask in a setting like an empty bank lobby for some reason and having experienced PTSD acted upon impulses similar to the men he is around all day long.


I hope he can get the help he needs and come back to better mental health he sounds like a very troubled man, but he got there serving the interests of the State of California.


AllAboutTheBenjamins

Wow! His behavior has nothing to do with his job and everything to do with being a racist pos it’s who he is.


Slosum

Something doesn’t feel right here. There is an intentional lack of information for something called a “hate crime”. First, we would see the surveillance video as routine. Then, once he is arrested we would be given evidence of this guy’s past. Social media. Arrest records. Employment issues. Anything to support a charge of a hate crime beyond calling someone a name. Let’s see how this plays out.


slo-to-load

They are no doubt trying to protect Jones because he is a CMC corrections officer. How popular do you think a corrections officer who used racial slurs and assaulted a hispanic army veteran would be with the hispanic gangs throughout correctional facilities? Releasing his photo and record would seriously shorten his life expectancy in the yard. Also, why do you care if he is charged with a hate crime or a not? Do you not agree that his actions are worthy of punishment?


AllAboutTheBenjamins

He needs to be on the other side of the bars