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Claim details more disturbing allegations of abuse at SLO County Jail

Jeremiah Mobley has filed a claim with San Luis Obispo County, alleging abuse at the County Jail, including lack of medical treatment for an eye infection.
Jeremiah Mobley has filed a claim with San Luis Obispo County, alleging abuse at the County Jail, including lack of medical treatment for an eye infection.

More allegations of abuse at the San Luis Obispo County Jail are detailed in a claim filed by a former inmate, who says he was hog-tied, tortured and berated by jail staff to the point of being physically disfigured in January.

The administrative claim, which the county received July 20, was filed by an attorney for Jeremiah Mobley. According to the claim, he was taken to the jail during a mental health episode on Jan. 22 — the same night another inmate, Andrew Holland, died after being held in a restraint chair for 46 hours.

Holland’s family was awarded a $5 million settlement against the county last week for his death.

In his claim, Mobley, 39, names the county, Sheriff Ian Parkinson, Undersheriff Tim Olivas, County Health Agency Director Jeff Hamm and Mental Health Medical Director Daisy Allano-Ramos as responsible for his days-long ordeal. He seeks damages in excess of $25,000 for medical bills, loss of work, violation of civil rights, pain and suffering and attorney fees.

Administrative claims are precursors to a civil lawsuit, and represent only one side of the story.

County Counsel Rita Neal on Friday said the county is reviewing the claim. Mobley’s attorney, Paula Canny — who also represents Holland’s family — could not immediately be reached for comment.

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In the filing, Mobley says he was taken into custody by San Luis Obispo Police Department officers on a “51-50“ psychiatric hold and transported to the county’s in-patient psychiatric facility, which refused to admit him. The claim does not say why he had contact with the officers, but it says he had no criminal record and no history of mental illness.

San Luis Obispo Police Capt. Chris Staley said Friday that he could not give details about his department’s interaction with Mobley because of medical confidentiality laws.

Mobley alleges that he was not formally booked into the jail and was never told of a reason for his arrest. Instead, correctional deputies put him in a holding cell, where deputies placed his legs in a “wrap restraint,” fitted a helmet on his head and handcuffed him. His cuffed wrists were clipped to a hook on the wrap below his knees, essentially hog-tying him, the claim reads.

According to the complaint, Mobley was told that if he fell over he would stay in whatever position he fell.

After several hours, he was released from the restraints and moved to a concrete cell with no bedding and a hole in the floor for his waste. His eyes became irritated and eventually inflamed from rubbing, and he was eventually taken to the hospital before again returning to the jail.

“(Mobley) was in a panic, as he was now essentially blind, had been hogtied, kept in solitary confinement, had not been seen by any mental health practitioner, and had not been told why he was in custody,” the claim reads.

He was eventually admitted to the psychiatric unit, where he stayed for two days without medical attention to his eyes, which were “infected and oozing with pus,” according to the claim.

When he was released, he was “dropped at a bus station,” still in the midst of a psychiatric crisis and was almost immediately taken back into custody for unspecified reasons and returned to the facility, the claim says. He was again medicated and stayed there two days, the claim says, though the claim does not explain the nature of his release from custody. No criminal charges were ever filed against him.

Mobley argues county staff denied him access to medical and mental health treatment and covered up violations of civil rights by failing to investigate allegations of abuse at the jail.

Since January 2012, 11 inmates have died while in jail custody. This week, the FBI confirmed it formally launched an investigation into Holland’s death and other alleged County Jail abuses in May.

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