Sheriff’s Sergeant Calls Out Local News Outlet for ‘Misleading’ Public on Incident Involving Drunk, Erratic Woman
Pleasanton, CA – The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) has made a public comment via Facebook condemning a local news outlet’s reporting of an incident involving their deputies in the jail.
The September 13 incident involved 56-year-old Jolynn McCabe, who was taken to the Santa Rita jail in Pleasanton by the Fremont Police Department. McCabe told the Fox affiliate KTVU2 that she “realized she needed help,” so she told her husband to call 911 so she could get assistance with her 16-year alcoholism problem.
The responding officers placed her in a full-body restraint for her ride to jail, which is staffed by ACSO deputies.
KTVU reported, “At the jail, a run-in with deputies left her almost unrecognizable with purple bruises on her face.”
LENN spoke with Alameda County Sheriff’s Sergeant Ray Kelly, who had posted on the ACSO Facebook account, “MISLEADING: Very misleading reporting to the public by KTVU Fox 2. This individual caused their own injuries due to erratic behavior. Our staff acted with compassion and care and was 100% professional. The investigation shows no wrongdoing at all!”
Sgt. Kelly told LENN, “[McCabe] has a history of mental health issues and habitual alcoholism. Police have been to her house many times. In this particular incident, she was brought to jail combative and erratic, under the influence of alcohol.
“She wasn’t hurt or beat by deputies; they were completely compassionate and professional with her. There wasn’t even force used on her, other than deputies putting their arm out to stop her from charging out the cell door.”
Sgt. Kelly told me that McCabe was belligerent and unable to keep her balance during the encounter with deputies. He continued, “There was no impact from deputies. She fell on her face on her own accord. This has been reviewed at all levels, it’s been investigated, it’s completely unfounded.”
Sgt. Kelly said that he had been fielding calls all day about this incident, thanks to the false reporting of KTVU. The angle of the KTVU report, Sgt. Kelly said, was to draw a correlation between this incident and the calls from some to send clinicians rather than law enforcement to calls involving mentally ill or those under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“There is a history of violence and assault with this person,” Sgt. Kelly continued. “She was put in a full body restraint- we don’t go out of our way to use those kinds of restraints. She was erratic and out of control.”
Not only do Fremont Police have body cam footage of the original incident responding to McCabe’s house, but ACSO also has body cam video as well as security footage within the facility of the entire incident. “All the videos clearly show the deputies did nothing wrong.”
KTVU promoted their article on social media by saying the following: “REFORMING POLICE: Jolynn McCabe has battled alcoholism for 16 years. And when the Fremont grandmother recently relapsed, she realized she needed help. So, she asked her husband to call 911, hoping paramedics would get her detoxed and take her to a rehabilitation facility. Instead, Fremont police arrested her and took her to Santa Rita Jail, where she sustained purple bruising all over her face. Her situation – calling dispatch for a non-criminal emergency that ended in handcuffs and injury – puts a renewed focus on reforming police departments and what society can do better to help those facing a mental health crisis.”
KTVU’s Lisa Fernandez and Evan Sernoffsky reported, “‘I wanted help,’ McCabe said in a recent interview with KTVU. ‘We called for help. This was not the kind of help we wanted.'”
The writers also posed the questions they say McCabe could have in their news report, “Why did police have to come anyway? Why did she have to get arrested and thrown in jail? Could her injuries have been avoided if society dealt with drug addiction and mental health crises in a different way?”
Despite her allegations and KTVU’s rather negative reporting on the officers and deputies involved, Sgt. Kelly showed more of the compassion he said deputies displayed during the encounter with McCabe when speaking with LENN. He said, “I don’t want to further victimize her by bringing her [mental health and alcohol] issues to light, but at the same time, we won’t let her bring false allegations against us. They tried to deescalate that situation in every way possible.”
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin is pushing to have other types of responders show up to calls not involving active crimes. He said, “We should have alternative emergency responders available 24/7 to deal with the vast majority of calls for service that do not involve a crime in progress. It’s been our experience that just the fact that we are showing up instead of police can really go a long way to de-escalate a situation and get that buy-in from the patients we’re trying to serve.”