Editor’s Note: Some descriptions in this article may be disturbing.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office treatment of a mentally disordered inmate who suffered life-changing brain damage while in transit has been a colossal failure, the Correctional and Correctional Office said. Law Enforcement Oversight (OCLEM) in a report released Tuesday to the Santa Clara County Board of Directors. Supervisors.
The report gives a poignant look at the failures that led to the injury of inmate Andrew Hogan. He also cited Sheriff Laurie Smith’s multiple failures to disclose the information OCLEM needs to assess, comment on and make recommendations on disciplinary action or – failing that – by the Sheriff’s Office in the Hogan case. .
The incident cost the county more than $ 10 million in damages settlements, and a confidential report from the county attorney on February 10, 2020 found the county had significant liability. The supervisory board voted unanimously on August 17 to lift the attorney’s professional secrecy and publish the lawyer’s report.
Hogan, who was in a mental health crisis, was transported in a van from Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas to the San Jose Main Prison Psychiatric Unit on August 25, 2018. He was not strapped with a seat belt and suffered a major head trauma after hitting his head against a metal cage that separated him from the deputies. Once in the facility, despite apparent bleeding and injuries, he was left unassisted and locked in the van. When he was abducted, he was unconscious, according to the report.
The OCLEM report found “no evidence available” that the sheriff’s office held anyone accountable; He also didn’t make any significant changes to address the issues that led to Hogan’s crippling injuries.
“Irregular procedures and incomplete explanations compounded the initial concerns generated by the incident itself. This reality falls far short of the reasonable expectations of transparency and understanding sought by your board of directors and the general public,” said The report.
He noted the sheriff’s “dismal failure” despite the agency’s responsibilities to protect mentally ill inmates.
The sheriff’s office did not have a policy on how to safely transport mentally ill inmates at the time of Hogan’s injury, the county attorney found. Current policy stated that inmates could be transported by ambulance to a medical facility, but in practice an ambulance was never used to transport inmates between Elmwood and the main prison. The detainees were driven into a van without seat belts or other restraints, the OCLEM report noted.
Hogan had said he wanted to self-harm when he was first taken into custody on August 10, 2018. His behavior became increasingly erratic over the days he was held in prison. He began to speak incoherently and the deputies decided to transfer him to the psychiatric unit in the main prison, about 5 miles away.
Hogan was reluctant to get out of the jail cell and get into the van, which required extensive cuddling. When he was finally convinced to enter the transport van and his cage area, he was not secure. He remained handcuffed and shackled around the waist.
The report said that on the way, Hogan violently banged his head against the roof and the steel beam in the back of the van at least 50 times, said one of the MPs who transported him. An assistant in the passenger seat saw that Hogan was bleeding profusely and called a supervisor for instructions. MPs were ordered to continue their journey to the main prison and were not asked to take Hogan to hospital for medical treatment, according to the OCLEM report.
Supervisor 1, who was not named in the report, encountered the van at the main prison after receiving a call from the Elmwood complex informing them that they had a “combative” inmate and that he was on his way to the psychiatric unit. The inmate had to be “forcibly” placed in the van, Supervisor 1 said in a follow-up report, but video later showed that was not the case, the OCLEM report noted.
Supervisor 1 and a nurse who encountered the van learned from MPs that Hogan had hit his head and that there was blood and feces “everywhere.” Upon opening the side doors of the van, Supervisor 1 later wrote that there was “an extreme amount of blood from the top of his head dripping onto his face”.
Video footage later showed Hogan screaming.
“Get me out of here. I’m dying. Please take me out. Please, I need medical attention. Hey, my fucking head has split open. My f —- n; the head is bleeding. Please get me out of here. I need to talk to a doctor. I need water… “, notes the report of the ‘OCLEM.
Hogan received no water or medical assistance. Instead, the supervisor closed the door after just eight seconds and Hogan was left alone, according to the OCLEM report. The nurse advised Supervisor 1 that the injury was serious and said she should call a Code 3 ambulance, which answers calls with its lights and siren on.
Concerned that prison staff were contaminated with Hogan’s bodily fluids, Supervisor 1 decided that Hogan would stay in the van until the prison emergency response team could be protected. in protective fire hazard suits to help remove Hogan.
“The audio from the prison cameras recorded Supervisor 1 saying that, in the meantime, Mr. Hogan could ‘do whatever damage he wants’,” the OCLEM report noted.
No one stayed to watch Hogan, and he began to decline rapidly.
“Mr. Hogan can be heard for several minutes unattended, repeatedly shouting irrational statements with less and less vigor as he eventually lapses into unconsciousness,” the report said.
Video showed that a second supervisor briefly spoke to Hogan. This person, Supervisor 2, told Supervisor 1 that medical and mental health staff should be on the scene while they wait for the ambulance to help calm Hogan down and administer emergency triage as needed. Video footage showed that Supervisor 2 also did not attempt to obtain the necessary treatment.
When the ambulance arrived, paramedics waited six minutes for the prison emergency response team to arrive to help get Hogan out of the van. Warned of the medical waste situation, paramedics donned protective equipment. The report from a third supervisor noted that upon opening the van door, they could see that Hogan was lying motionless and face down on a bench inside the lattice restraint cage. steel.
Supervisor 3 advised paramedics not to open the cage door until the emergency response team arrived in case Hogan was still hostile and combative. Supervisor 3 said Hogan’s immobility may have been a ploy, according to the third supervisor’s report, OCLEM noted.
When an emergency response team arrived, they asked Hogan to get out of the van, but he did not respond, according to the team’s report filed on the incident. The team transported him while he was unconscious from the van and he was taken to hospital.
The OCLEM report, however, found multiple inconsistencies in the emergency response team’s report compared to the video footage. There was no evidence in the video or otherwise to suggest that Hogan was “combative” in the sense of being physically aggressive towards any prison, medical or mental health staff. They also found no evidence that Hogan “refused” to exit the transport. van before the emergency response team arrives. Hogan was never ordered to get out of the van by the initial prison staff and he did not respond to verbal orders issued by the supervisor 3.
“And Mr. Hogan ‘refused’ to comply with ERT (Emergency Response Team) orders to get out of the van because he was apparently unconscious when those orders were given,” the OCLEM report.
The report also criticized the sheriff’s office for failing to provide documentation to OCLEM for its investigation. The supervisory board approved an ordinance in 2018 to form OCLEM, which is to provide independent oversight of the county’s corrections and law enforcement agencies. In 2019, the county also contracted with OIR Group to begin monitoring law enforcement and remedial services in January 2020.
The sheriff dragged his feet to produce most of the documents requested by OCLEM / OIR, according to the report. OCLEM began making requests to the sheriff’s office from April for documents related to the Hogan incident. Initially, they received only two documents relating to the current inmate transport policy. After close public scrutiny, OCLEM recently received more documents related to the incident itself, including summary reports, attachments, videos and photographs.
Much of the material that would be most important to OCLEM’s report to the Supervisory Board has not yet been provided by the sheriff; according to the report.
The sheriff’s office opened an internal affairs investigation into the Hogan incident on September 25, 2018, but ordered internal affairs to close the investigation for unknown reasons. Internal Affairs were never able to complete their investigation or come to any conclusions, especially if someone was sanctioned or if a significant change was made, the county council report also noted.
OCLEM made four requests, but Sheriff Laurie Smith “expressly refused to provide us with any information relating to the internal affairs investigation,” the OCLEM report said. Smith also denied OCLEM access to sheriff’s office supervisors familiar with the internal affairs investigation, from whom OCLEM wanted to gain insight into the substantive and procedural background of the internal affairs.
“Without this information, we cannot answer this board’s question as to whether a meaningful internal affairs investigation has been conducted and / or appropriate disciplinary action taken. Accordingly, we plan to using our subpoena power granted by this council to compel the sheriff to provide critical information, the report said.
See the full report: