A 39-year-old man who was allegedly hogtied, tormented, stripped naked, berated and belittled by staffers at the San Luis Obispo County Jail earlier this year killed himself Sunday morning.
Before he shot himself, Jeremiah Mobley said he was afraid of law enforcement officers. Mobley was worried that deputies with the SLO County Sheriff’s Department were going to use his blood to set him up for a crime, his mother Terrie Spencer said.
On Saturday night, Mobley was watching an Oregon State football game at Spencer’s apartment in Lodi when she left the room. Shortly after 7 p.m., Spencer returned to the den to find Mobley with a gun to his head and a knife pointed at his heart.
Several days earlier, Mobley had reviewed several reports from the SLO County Jail detailing his time in custody. Reports he said had many inaccuracies. For example, while Mobley insisted a nurse drew blood from his arm while he was at the jail, the report did not mention a blood draw.
“He was afraid they were going to use the blood to set him up for a murder,” Spencer said. “He was afraid and he didn’t want to go back to jail.”
Spencer tried for several hours to calm her son’s fears. At about 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, Spencer left her apartment and called the Lodi Police Department. By the time officers went into the apartment, Mobley was already dead from a gunshot wound.
Since his trip to San Luis Obispo last January, Mobley said he has been afraid to ask for help for his mental health issues.
On Jan. 21, Mobley traveled with his mother and an aunt to San Luis Obispo to visit a critically ill family member. Feeling out of sorts, on the morning of Jan 22, Mobley called 9-1-1 several times asking for help with mental health issues.
Shortly afterwards, San Luis Obispo police arrived to find Mobley standing outside a hotel room waiting for them, with a knife in a sheath on his belt.
An officer gave the knife back to Mobley’s mom and then transported Mobley to the county psychiatric facility, but county staffers said there was no room. The officer then drove Mobley to the county jail.
At the jail, correctional staffers did not take his fingerprints or booking photo, instead they took Mobley, a man with no criminal history, directly to a cell in the drunk tank.
During his stay in county custody, deputies kept Mobley hogtied for several hours in a cell before they striped him and moved him naked into a small concrete cell, with no bedding and a hole in the floor for his waste. Mobley was in and out of county custody for about a week.
About a month later, Mobley went back to work as a long distance truck driver. In March, while transporting a load, Mobley again became concerned with his mental health and again called 9-1-1.
However, as an officer approached his vehicle, Mobley panicked, Mobley said.
“I can’t go back to jail again,” Mobley said shortly after the incident.
Mobley grabbed his knife and stabbed himself twice in the chest which nicked his heart and collapsed a lung. Following the stabbing, Mobley lost his job.
Mobley’s claim alleges that county staffers “violated his state and federal civil rights to be free from excessive and unreasonable force and restraint, the right to be free from conscience-shocking force, the right to be free from deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs while in custody, the right to be free from wrongful interference with familial relationships and claimants rights to society, support and companionship.”
Before a lawsuit can be filed against a government entity, a claim must be made and rejected. Following Mobley’s death, the county announced plans to formally reject his claim. His sons are planning to file a lawsuit against San Luis Obispo County, Spencer said.
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