Man Arrested in Walnut Creek Dies inside the Contra Costa County Jail in Martinez

March 20, 2014 16:57 pm · 44 comments

The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff and the District Attorney’s Office are investigating an in-custody death of an inmate at the county jail in Martinez.

At about 1AM on Thursday, a 24-year-old man was booked into the county’s Martinez Detention Facility. During the medical screening, he made statements about wanting to harm himself, according to the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff. He was placed into a safety cell and checked regularly, the Sheriff’s Office said.

At about 7:34AM, the inmate was found to be unresponsive. Medical staff at the jail immediately started life-saving measures, and ConFire responded. The inmate was taken to Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez. He was later pronounced deceased at the hospital.

The man is not being identified at this time as next-of-kin are being notified. He was arrested by the Walnut Creek Police Department for resisting arrest and having an outstanding arrest warrant, the Sheriff’s Office said.

? March 20, 2014 at 5:13 PM

Wonder when policy changed? Used to be any question of mental health they were taken to county hospital Martinez for evaluation. Saving $ ?

Poon March 20, 2014 at 5:29 PM

@?…They have to be a danger to themselves or others. Standard “mental health” issues won’t get you denied.

Wendy March 20, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Either their statement is simply to cover their butt’s, or he wasn’t being checked regularly enough. He should have been immediately 51/50’d …
While I am sure his family wants answers, and I can’t blame them at all, sadly to say nothing will ever come of any investigation.
Are these people ever held accountable when they screw up?

digger March 20, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Room 9 in Martinez is a hostile place and cops there look for a reason to zap or beat you. This guy was thrown in a safety cell not to keep from harming himself but because of the resisting arrest charge. They most likely left him alone for hours giving him ample time to swallow something. Come on between the lines. Oh, and the county psych ward is a joke anyway…shoot you with lithium and kick you out the door 24 hours later.

John March 20, 2014 at 5:57 PM


Obviously you have this all figured out with your extensive knowledge of law enforcement. Thank you so much for enlightening the rest of us.

Minnie March 20, 2014 at 6:00 PM

troubled soul. 🙁 Rest in peace young man.

ChampagneKitty March 20, 2014 at 6:24 PM

To Wendy: What inside knowledge do you have about law enforcement or the jail system that gives credibility to your comment?

Triple Canopy March 20, 2014 at 6:58 PM

Looks like the guy succeeded.. sorry to hear that.

On the bright side, today is the first day of spring!

@ Wendy March 20, 2014 at 7:06 PM

No. Read the story. He had a warrant and resisted arrest. All prisoners are asked if they fell like harming themselves. Imagine a system where all a prisoner has to do is say yes and he gets out of jail and a free trip to the coiunty hospital. Wouldn’t work.

Amazing that you would conclude he was carrying a secret poison to kill himself if he was arrested. Nazis did it. Not too many folks do it here.

But thats OK Wendy, keep on the cops.Dont ever blame the crook for anything.

FormerConcordMom March 20, 2014 at 7:18 PM

I’m know expert but after working in both the crisis and psyche unit in the County Hospital, they stopped taking “jail holds” several years ago because we know longer had security on the units….deputies that do come into the unit have to check their guns. These jail holds can be dangerous, because not ALL of them are true 5150’s, many will manipulate the system because they rather be on the psyche unit where they enjoy unlimited food and TV then be in a cell….they are also an extreme danger to truly mentally I’ll people that are vulnerable. All psyche evals are done at MDF-Martinez Detention Facility. Also FYI, the county closed one of their two psyche units years ago so now there are only 24 beds available and they stay full….this may or may not answer any questions….the bottom line is that there simply isn’t any money allocated in any budget, county or state to properly care for the mentally ill so the county is just working with what they have….NOT defending the county at all, just speaking truth….this has been happening for years unfortunately, this is not the first or last young man to lose their life…it is a sad situation! 🙁

FormerConcordMom March 20, 2014 at 7:20 PM

Sorry….auto correct on my phone makes me look illiterate :/

justice March 20, 2014 at 7:34 PM

good riddence

Red Headed Left Handed Inuit March 20, 2014 at 8:22 PM

What a shame he is gone. One less loser.

The Police March 20, 2014 at 8:46 PM

Minimum Standards for Local Detention Facilities
Title 15-Crime Prevention and Corrections
Division 1, Chapter 1, Subchapter 4
§ 1055. Use of Safety Cell.

An inmate shall be placed in a safety cell only with the approval of the facility manager, the facility watch commander, or the designated physician; Continued retention in a safety cell shall be reviewed a minimum of every eight hours. A medical assessment shall be completed
within a maximum of 12 hours of placement in the safety cell or at the next daily sick call, whichever is earliest. The inmate shall be medically cleared for continued retention every 24 hours thereafter. A mental health opinion on placement and retention shall be secured within 24 hours of placement. Direct visual observation shall be conducted at least twice every thirty
minutes. Such observation shall be documented.

The truth of the matter is, it is almost impossible to prevent someone from committing suicide if they are determined.

Elwood March 20, 2014 at 9:17 PM

@ digger #4

Problems with LE, digger? You sound as though you speak from experience.

Here’s a tip: Don’t **** up and you won’t get to see those places.

aquaponics supply March 20, 2014 at 10:16 PM

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hole in the wall March 20, 2014 at 10:16 PM

Inmates are left in a holding cell and watched. Or ignored.if staff is low.
Walnut Creek has nothing to do with this… it’s what happened (OR DID NOT HAPPEN) after he was brought to Martinez.
Prisoners are not respected and therefore ignored many times.
I feel for his family tonight..

mika March 20, 2014 at 10:17 PM

24 year olds just don’t die, must be drugs or abuse involved.

p.s March 20, 2014 at 10:18 PM

You can choke yourself with dental floss or your own hands. He should have been watched more carefully. case closed

Yes, Wendy March 20, 2014 at 10:39 PM

You hit the nail on the head. And no, the overwhelming majority are not held accountable when they screw up.

Blah March 20, 2014 at 11:04 PM

Obviously many defensive cops commenting here..
Wendy’s right.
Can’t handle it?

JRConcord March 21, 2014 at 6:48 AM

The guy wanted to kill himself. He succeeded. He accomplished his goal. Give him a gold star.

mist March 21, 2014 at 6:52 AM

If he didnt screw up in the first place, he would’nt of been there. Guess he got what he wanted. RIP

Anonymous March 21, 2014 at 7:08 AM

Wendy: stop making up new names for your stupid self.

boccegrl March 21, 2014 at 7:10 AM

Shame on Our system and on the officier and or jail
Staff who ignored this young mans plea for Help.

Disgraced by your actions

Phillian March 21, 2014 at 7:10 AM

Stupid cops. Give us some answers about what happened and maybe we wouldn’t sit here and blame you idiots. The majority of the cops that watch over room 9 are morons.

@ 12 and 13 March 21, 2014 at 8:01 AM

Can’t wait for your type to join him

Incognito March 21, 2014 at 9:07 AM

I don’t even know what Room 9 is or what 5150 is, so I can’t even begin to comment on this one or speculate what took place, but the rest of you appear to be experts.

@ Wendy March 21, 2014 at 9:21 AM

Give it a rest girl. You are going to run out of new names to post under.

Bottom line: You and your multiple personalities dont know squat. You gave it away when you posted about “Room 9” under different names.
I am reporting you.

mist March 21, 2014 at 9:23 AM

Shame on our system? lol Its his own fault.

Medic March 21, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Probably swallowed a bag of heroin or crack cocaine when the police first contacted him, then once it was digested and he baggies were broken down by stomach acid the large amount of the drug hit his blood stream all at once and caused respiratory arrest (heroin) or ventricular fibrillation (crack or meth).

mist March 21, 2014 at 10:02 AM

Sounds right to me Medic

. March 21, 2014 at 10:21 AM

@Wendy #3…. Let’s hear about your vast experience and training in law enforcement (POST) and corrections (STC), including which agencies you worked for. This would be MOST enlightening!

First of all, it’s not “51/50″……it’s section 5150 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. That alone tells me you’re nothing more than a Monday-morning quarterback spouting your anti-cop drivel.

@digger #4…. And how would you know that “Room 9 in Martinez is a hostile place?” And how do you KNOW that “cops there look for a reason to zap or beat you.” And how do you KNOW that “this guy was thrown in a safety cell not to keep from harming himself but because of the resisting arrest charge.”

Let’s hear about YOUR extensive law enforcement training and experience! Or is it all at the “other end” of the baton?

I’m not “for or against” anyone here – I’m for waiting until the facts come out before speaking my opinion about who’s “at fault.” If someone wants to kill themselves, there’s NOTHING that anyone can do about it. It’s just a matter of time. This happened between 1-7 am on Thursday; this was initially posted around 4:30 pm yesterday, and folks are already demanding answers/heads and accusing the cops.

If you’re such a damn expert on these things, why in h3LL don’t you drop on by the jail to volunteer your expertise? Or are you gonna continue hiding behind a keyboard and spew your vitriol ?

C’mon…put up or shut up!

Experienced March 21, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Peeps will not like this and get defensive, call me names, etc.. but I don’t care…I was arrested many years ago for DUI and when I was booked, they asked me, “have you ever thought about hurting yourself?” I said, “sure who hasn’t?” at which point two gutless cops, who are too weak and incompetant to walk the beat, stood me up, kneed me at the same time on each side of my ribs, dropped me to the ground and grabbed my ankles and ran while dragging me down the hall. They then threw me in a “safety cell” cuffed my ankles to the wall, cuffed my hands behind my back and left me face down for 10 hours., They would throw little boxes of milk at my head ever 4 hours or so while laughing. Not once did they “check on me.” and all I did to deserve this was to jokingly say, “yeah, who hasn’t?” I thought it was funny. I was 26 then…much older now but my opinion of the cops that work in that county jail has been forever tarnished so…….I don’t think they checked on him at all and I think they are a bunch of gutless jerks. Lets abuse people while they are detained. Not risking their necks at all….not protecting…..

CoCoOld March 21, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Lay off Wendy. Maybe she’s an RU36 fan.

who writes this stuff!? March 21, 2014 at 12:30 PM

@experienced stopped listening after I got arrested for a DUI ?!

Anonymous March 21, 2014 at 5:23 PM

Experienced I’d another nut. Probably Wendy again

FormerConcordMom March 21, 2014 at 5:45 PM

Well I am NOT Wendy….Wendy sounds bitter and maybe for good reason…I am generally bitter about a lot of things but I believe that both the police agencies and the county mental health workers do the best they can with what tools they are given. Yes it is an outrage that this has happened but the real blame is the lack of funding to help the mentally ill and agree with other posters that say that if he really wanted to kill himself, one way or another he would have succeeded! It’s a sad situation no doubt, I feel for his family during this tragedy. It’s counterproductive to label this young man a “loser” or say “good riddance”….. Unless you knew him personally than you are just talking out of your a**! Anyways, the system is flawed and yes, there are police that abuse their authority but who is to say that is the cause of this situation?!?!

Amy March 21, 2014 at 7:30 PM

I do not understand why this is even reported on this site. Is this to infer that the police were the perpetrators? Why post this if not to stir bad feelings about the authorities?

Dude March 21, 2014 at 7:39 PM

I spent a night in room 9 last August. Was there about 14 hours. It sucked. It stank. It was cold. It was uncomfortable. However, at no point did I feel threatened, or intimidated by any inmate or staff. Never saw the staff mis-treat anybody. There was not a single tense moment the whole time. Barely anyone even spoke. It was just a long, boring, uncomfortable night and morning. Guess I was there on a good night. Lucky me!

huey9k March 21, 2014 at 8:00 PM

I’ve been to pick up a few friends who were being held for B.S. or trumped up charges (if I need to elaborate, you need to stop reading, because you are just looking for an argument) – County authorities have a long, sad track record of ignoring inmates who need medications, meals, basic see a doctor type stuff, because the doctor leaves at 5 pm and doesn’t show back up until 830 the next morning.

So when the charge of incompetence is levelled at County Authorities, yeah – I can believe it.

@ huey9k March 22, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Cry me a river….Must be tough having to grow up a obey rules.

Anon March 22, 2014 at 11:23 AM


The lesson you could have learned is you should not be a smart ass to police officers. If you could recall all of the evening you may have learned that the other things you said to the police were not thought of as funny either.

Cops are people and just because you overload yourself on booze and meth they won’t pretend to be your mommy and bring you soup. Especially when you tease them.

Which leads me to the question, why do people expect the police to fix the situation that they started. Then get upset when they have to use force to control the situation and limit the collateral damage. Like when the hairdresser was shot in WC. Have all Californians lost the ability to understand cause and effect?

It’s as if the entire population of the state thinks the worst thing that can happen to them is a “time out.”

I’d bet five bucks on the “he swallowed a heroin baggy” theory.

. March 23, 2014 at 7:30 PM

So Huey #41….

Since you’re the qualified expert, why don’t you enlighten us with facts……and not just your opinions? Let’s hear about those trumped up charges….

Oh, I see….because I’m looking for elaboration , I now want to argue …

Grow up, little idiot.

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