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Man who said he was hog-tied at SLO County Jail commits suicide in Lodi

Jeremiah Mobley, 39, died of a self-inflicted injury Sunday in Lodi. He had filed a claim against San Luis Obispo County for alleged mistreatment in County Jail in January while experiencing a mental health breakdown.
Jeremiah Mobley, 39, died of a self-inflicted injury Sunday in Lodi. He had filed a claim against San Luis Obispo County for alleged mistreatment in County Jail in January while experiencing a mental health breakdown.

A 39-year-old man who has an outstanding claim against San Luis Obispo County after his alleged mistreatment in the County Jail has died following an apparent mental health episode in Lodi.

Jeremiah Mobley of Lodi committed suicide Sunday during a standoff incident with police, his mother said Thursday. The San Joaquin County Coroner’s Office confirmed the man’s death Thursday.

Mobley had filed for damages against San Luis Obispo County on July 20, alleging he was hog-tied, held in isolation and refused medical treatment for two days for self-inflicted eye injuries. His claim was ongoing at the time of his death, but a formal rejection notification was due to be sent to him Friday, according to San Luis Obispo County Counsel Rita Neal.

He sought damages in excess of $25,000 for medical bills, loss of work, violation of civil rights, pain and suffering and attorney fees.

His mother, Terrie Spencer, said that she and her son were watching TV at her residential hotel in Lodi on Saturday night when she returned from the bathroom to see Mobley holding a knife and a gun on himself. Police were called, and after about eight hours Mobley fatally shot himself, she said.

“He kept saying, ‘Mom, I can’t go back to jail,” Spencer said, adding that her son had not been the same since his stay at the SLO County Jail. Mobley had no outstanding criminal charges or reason to be arrested.

A spokesman for the Lodi Police Department declined to comment on the incident other than to confirm a suicide occurred.

This was a guy with no prior adult criminal record; a guy with no (prior) history of mental illness; a guy who, after he was stripped, hog-tied and tortured, could never regain his equilibrium.

Paula Canny, attorney for Jeremiah Mobley

Paula Canny, an attorney representing Mobley in his San Luis Obispo claim, said she last spoke with her client via phone on Sept. 7 and described him as confused and scared.

“I believe that his death and concern and anxiety were a direct consequence of his treatment in San Luis Obispo County Jail,” Canny said. “This was a guy with no prior adult criminal record; a guy with no (prior) history of mental illness; a guy who, after he was stripped, hog-tied and tortured, could never regain his equilibrium.”

Canny also represents the family of Andrew Holland — a County Jail inmate who died after being held in a plastic restraint chair for nearly two days, and whose family reached a $5 million settlement from the county in late July — and another inmate who allegedly witnessed Holland’s death.

Mobley was booked into SLO County Jail Jan. 22 in the midst of a mental health crisis after he was refused admission to the county’s in-patient psychiatric facility, the claim says. Spencer said she and her son were in San Luis Obispo dealing with a family matter when he became mentally distraught and called 911 for help.

Mobley’s claim alleged he was not formally booked into the jail, but was placed in a holding cell, where deputies secured his legs in a “wrap restraint,” fitted with a helmet and handcuffed. In another cell, his eyes became irritated and eventually became “infected and oozing with pus” from rubbing, the claim reads. He was eventually admitted to the psychiatric unit, where he stayed for two days without medical attention to his eyes, Mobley alleged.

Administrative claims are precursors to civil lawsuits, and if rejected by a government agency, can be filed as a lawsuit in Superior Court. Canny said that despite Mobley’s death, his next of kin could file a lawsuit on his behalf for his in-custody treatment. She said she has not been retained by his family.

Carty and Sharon Holland — the parents of Andrew Holland, who died in jail custody — said their son had hope for a better life. They want to see procedures changed at the San Luis Obispo County Jail.

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