Investigation continues into Pleasanton police in-custody death

Unanswered questions remain for investigators, family after incident last week

A multi-agency investigation continues into the death of a Pleasanton man who died at a local hospital while in police custody one week ago after allegedly acting erratically in a grocery store and then attacking officers who were trying to detain him.

Authorities are still working to determine what set off 38-year-old Jacob Bauer's aggressive behavior as well as what caused his ultimately fatal respiratory distress in the time after he was arrested during a confrontation with police, which included officers using Tasers, according to Pleasanton police Lt. Maria Munayer.

"I cannot speak to the mental state of Mr. Bauer at the time of the incident nor do I know what caused Mr. Bauer to become violent with officers," Munayer told the Weekly on Monday, five days after the incident in the Oak Hills Shopping Center on Sunol Boulevard.

Unanswered questions also remain for Bauer's family about the run-in with police that preceded his death.

"The family just wants to know what happened," said Jackie Murphy, an attorney whose firm was recently hired by Bauer's parents John and Rose to track the investigation.

"We are representing the Bauers as it relates to their son Jacob's death. We have put Pleasanton police on notice of that, and we are asking Pleasanton police to preserve all body-camera footage and data on Tasers that were used," Murphy told the Weekly on Tuesday.

"We're trying to find out what happened there (in the shopping center). That's the goal," Murphy said, adding that Bauer's parents -- longtime Pleasanton residents -- only know the same information that police have released to the general public and news media.

Munayer said the incident unfolded around 2:45 p.m. Aug. 1 after police received a call from a manager at Raley's reporting a white man in his 30s acting irrationally, picking up a shopping cart and slamming it to the ground before opening and breaking alcohol bottles inside the store.

The initial police officers arrived within four minutes of being dispatched and located the man -- later identified as Bauer -- in the area.

"When officers attempted to detain Bauer, he failed to comply with requests to place his hands behind his back. Bauer resisted officers' attempts to place him in handcuffs, including scratching and biting officers," Shannon Revel-Whitaker, Pleasanton police community and public relations coordinator, said in a press release the day after the incident.

Two officers sustained undisclosed minor injuries during the arrest, which occurred in the grass strip behind Jim's Country Style Restaurant along Mission Drive.

Officers struggled to place Bauer in handcuffs for more than five minutes, and two officers ultimately opted to deploy their Tasers to try to subdue Bauer, according to police. Munayer said details about how many Taser rounds were fired remain under investigation.

After handcuffing Bauer, officers also used a leg restraint device known as "The Wrap" to keep the man under control and safely transport him to Stanford Health Care-ValleyCare for a routine medical evaluation, according to Munayer.

The lieutenant said Bauer showed no signs of respiratory distress until after being loaded into an ambulance at the scene and on his way to the hospital. Bauer was pronounced dead at Stanford-ValleyCare shortly after arriving that afternoon.

Munayer said she did not know how much time elapsed between when the incident began and when Bauer was transported to the hospital. "The exact timeline of events is still being reviewed by investigators," she added.

The number of officers involved in the incident also remains under investigation, and none of the officers will be placed on administrative leave during the probe, according to Munayer.

The Alameda County Coroner's Bureau inquiry is ongoing, with autopsy report, cause of death and toxicology test results among the pending information.

Munayer noted Pleasanton police did have prior contacts with Bauer, but those calls were non-criminal family disturbances involving the Bauer family. She declined to elaborate on the specifics of those non-criminal police contacts.

Mental health could have been a contributing factor for Bauer during last week's incident, according to Marsha McInnis, president of the local chapter of the nonprofit National Alliance on Mental Illness.

"NAMI Tri-Valley sends their heartfelt condolences to the Bauer family for the loss of their son Jacob. We were aware of the parents' deep concerns about their son and were assisting finding the right key to open the right door to help," she said. "The lack of access to care, a fail first system and criminalization of mental illness interferes with finding the best appropriate help in a complex and traumatic process."

Family and friends have put up a small memorial next to a tree behind Jim's, with flowers, notes and more to remember Bauer following his death.

The incident remains under separate investigations by Pleasanton police, the coroner's bureau and the Alameda County District Attorney's Office. Anyone with additional information about the case can contact police at 931-5100.

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43 people like this
Posted by Compassion
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Aug 9, 2018 at 7:24 am

"The lack of access to care, A FAIL FIRST SYSTEM AND CRIMINALIZATION OF MENTAL ILLNESS interferes with finding the best appropriate help in a complex and traumatic process."

"non-criminal police contacts" Jacob's family did everything right. When Jacob's family asked for help PPD said something bad has to happen before you can get help. Is this "bad" enough?

We Must do better! Support this family, Our Neighbors, ask for a better system of support so this is not the Failed outcome for yet another family.

12 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2018 at 8:45 am

I did not know Jacob personally, but he pardoned my place of employment for the past 6 years. He seemed like a civilized human being and although his actions that day are irresponsible and very dangerous to the community. I hope his family can get some more answers as to what unfolded. It seems they were aware of his mental state and asked for help. Prayers to everyone involved including the PPD

23 people like this
Posted by My opinion
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2018 at 9:11 am

My opinion is a registered user.

Once again the parents who raised him and failed to get him medical help are going to look for financial reward for their actions. It was not the PD that threw the cart and broke the bottles which was a hazard to anyone in the store. So the police should just let that slide and do nothing? It was the suspect who aggressively resisted arrest when the PD was trying to get him into an ambulance to get treatment. Had he simply done what he was asked to do he would still be alive. If the PD had been called previously due to his behavior why did the parents do nothing? They could have gotten him medication or even locked into a facility that could have helped him. Their failure to act was the reason he was out and able to do this violence, then actively resist arrest and ultimately to die. It is a horrible result but not entirely unpredictable when he was allowed to roam anywhere without benefit of treatment. It is not his mental health that was deemed criminal, it was his actions. Mental health issues do not give blanket authority to anyone to commit crimes and not be held accountable.

60 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 9, 2018 at 9:33 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

MO, such as amazing lack of understanding of mental illness and empathy, all while drawing unbelievable conclusions based on absolutely no knowledge. We are not talking about a 10 year old’s temper tantrum; this was an adult. The family sought help from the police, from NAMI, and other institutions. Ask those agencies about the limitations they must operate under, and you will see our current system fails all those involved in this situation.

Being held accountable does not include death.

28 people like this
Posted by Robin
a resident of Sycamore Heights
on Aug 9, 2018 at 9:33 am

I agree, suddenly the family wants questions answered and yet where were they when their son was out walking the streets and mentally not healthy so it appears. There were people in the grocery store fearing for their lives as this individual went berserk. Our police force is damned if they do and damned if they don't. When will people start taking responsibility for their lives and actions or inactions! Thank God we have people willing to become police officers to protect our communities and yet it is a thankless job. If our society keeps NOT TAKING RESPONSIBILITY for what they do or do not do ... you can kiss a sane and safe society good bye. Thank God for our Police Officers! And lets pray people start incorporating boundaries and teaching respect and responsibility within their families like in the old days...amen.

50 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 9, 2018 at 9:40 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Robin, read my comment above yours. The current laws for adults with mental illness do not allow the parents, police, or other agencies to do anything to assist until there is trouble. Take the time to read Laura’s law. Web Link There are resisters to this program as well. Until you know more, take a step back.

35 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Aug 9, 2018 at 10:07 am

I'm pretty sure MO is a troll on many other sites as well. stirring up controversy and hysteria. A trump groupie

13 people like this
Posted by Robin
a resident of Sycamore Heights
on Aug 9, 2018 at 10:57 am

Kathleen, I read your comments, I have been an RN for over 30 years I have seen my share of mental illness within my years of work, I agree that we need to see more availability for medical help for these patients and yet there is still responsibility to protect others from those who are violent. I feel that means for family to actively participate and help even when a child is an adult dealing with mental illness ... it is so easy to step away and point the finger, especially if or when a patient is unpredictable. Responsibility must start within your family and evolve outward. In this day in situations like this usually we see a family come forward after but not before. It is easy in this age to be unaccountable ... it is a phase that is destroying America. Responsibility must take place in your home and evolve outward.
And I agree we need a better mental health system and service. Robin

30 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 9, 2018 at 11:14 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Robin, nurse or no, you do not have the facts of this family and are are wildly commenting despite it. I am not going to explain what happened; there are plenty of investigations occurring. Please contact NAMI. They not only could enlighten you, but if you are a nurse you could be of help to them as well.

42 people like this
Posted by Diane
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 9, 2018 at 3:13 pm

Re: "why did the parents do nothing? They could have gotten him medication or even locked into a facility that could have helped him"

This is baloney! I have direct experience with this. There is only way you can force an adult family member to take medication or go into a program if they refuse. That is to take the legal steps to place the person under Conservatorship. It is a very lengthy, emotionally grueling, and expensive process. And by expensive, my family spent over $40,000 going thru the legal process.

And even if the Jacob Bauer had been hospitalized by police for a psychiatric issue, he would have most likely been released in a few days.

And this comment, "where were they when their son was out walking the streets and mentally not healthy so it appears."

Most likely his parents were working. He was living with them, so obviously they were involved in his life. All you can do with an adult child is try. And when they die due to their issues or something like this happens, you are left heartbroken.

Our laws give individuals rights. It is very difficult to take those rights away. The days of locking someone into a mental institution and forcing drugs down their throats are gone. Even Alzheimer's patients in memory care can't be forced to take their medications. And just try to force an adult into a rehab program--see how far you get. And then if he/she happens to agree to it, see how much it costs. When I looked into private mental hospitals in 2009, the cost was $10,000-$12,000/month. Who can afford that long term?

25 people like this
Posted by Vicki LaBarge
a resident of Mission Park
on Aug 9, 2018 at 3:16 pm

Comments made by MO and Robin have grossly infuriated me. You two know nothing about this family or the situation. Conjecture and assumptions (know the meaning of assuming?). I agree with Kathleen, getting help is almost impossible for mental health issues. I tried for years to get help for my sister in law, helping her husband and family. She ultimately died without getting the help needed. Our health systems fail us with mental health issues. MO and Robin - making assumptions like you know what is going on in a family is the most awful thing you can do when a life has been lost. My heart goes out to Jacob's family. I am praying that Jacob is at peace and that his family finds the answers they need to be at peace themselves.

16 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2018 at 5:30 pm

BobB is a registered user.

"MO" does sound like a troll who just mouths off when he/she knows nothing of the facts in this case. What ugly, ignorant things to say at a time like this.

19 people like this
Posted by Compassion
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Aug 9, 2018 at 6:06 pm

Mo, you are wrong on so many counts. When in psychosis there is no intent, a person does not have the ability to act responsibly.
mens re·a
menz ˈrēə/Submit
the intention or knowledge of wrongdoing that constitutes part of a crime, as opposed to the action or conduct of the accused.

It is a necessary element of many crimes. The standard common law test of criminal liability is expressed in the Latin phrase actus reus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea, i.e. "the act is not culpable unless the mind is guilty".

3 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 9, 2018 at 6:19 pm

The body is fully culpable regardless of its mindset.

17 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 9, 2018 at 7:16 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Michael, I’m sorry. That just isn’t true. Please reach out to NAMI or read Laura’s law.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood

on Aug 10, 2018 at 5:35 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Like this comment
Posted by Moved
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2018 at 6:17 pm

Moved is a registered user.

The memorial has been moved at the request of the restaurant owner.

It is now located on public property.

The family offers its sincere apologies if the initial placement of the memorial at the base of the tree behind the business offended anyone.

9 people like this
Posted by Dr. Bill
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 12, 2018 at 8:38 am

Dr. Bill is a registered user.

As PPD & most Police Departments hopefully know: Taser alone or Taser + Cocaine or Amphetamine = Fatal, just WAY too much stimulants for the heart & brain, like an EXECUTION. Several officers can’t cuff the guy??? Come on. Having guns & tasers = use them, it’s easier that way. Old-fashion Police ways saves lives, it’s the cops job & duty. A mentally ill unarmed man or woman or child does NOT deserve the death penalty! Selfish & lazy & young cops use weapons faster, it’s been proven. They have a “him or me” attitude. There no need to use a deadly weapon or a potentially deadly weapon on an unarmed crazy/mentally ill man or woman or teen or child or old person...there were MANY no weapon ways to deal with this, ever heard of force or MACE ?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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