San Diego, CA — When he was arrested in February of this year, Gilbert Gil, 67, had committed no crime and had harmed no one. Sadly, however, his innocence offered no protection from the pernicious abuse of the California police state.
The nightmare for the Gil family began when a combination of his dementia and his diabetes created the perfect storm. Jennifer Schmidt, Gil’s daughter says she became worried on February 12 when her dad didn’t show up at her home after he got off of work.
Because he has dementia, Schmidt had placed a tracking device on his keys and when she found him, he was miles away in another county where he wrecked his car. Gil had lost consciousness and drove off the road.
When Schmidt talked to her dad, he was incoherent and not making any sense.
“I’d never seen him like that,” Schmidt told CBS 8. “I had never seen him that way. He was shaking and moving his head and he couldn’t really talk. But he was like, just confused, really confused”
Schmidt said she checked to see if her dad had taken his insulin shots and she found that he hadn’t. She tried to tell police that his strange behavior was likely a combination of his dementia and diabetes but they arrested him and took him to jail instead of a hospital.
“I told him to just listen to what the deputy says. And I’ll see him in a little bit.”
The next morning, Schmidt went to the jail and picked up her dad. Deputies told her that he “never sobered up” and he was worse off than the night before. Schmidt told them that he was not drunk or high and that he suffered from dementia and diabetes and Gil was released shortly after.
“He was ten times worse than when they arrested him. He couldn’t hold a conversation. He couldn’t answer any questions. I finally got him into the car and brought him to my house. My daughter had to give him her sippy cup because he couldn’t even hold a bottle of water,” said Schmidt.
Later that night, Gil’s condition continued to worsen and they called 911 for an ambulance. Instead of an ambulance, police showed up and arrested Gil. And, instead of medical help, Gil received a jail cell.
When Schmidt finally found out that her dad was in jail, she went there the following morning to get him out. Tragically, however, she could not pick him up. He died the night before and officers left his dead body in the cell for 15 hours after he died — so long that rigor mortis had set in.
“The next day I’m looking for his name in jail. I called and they would not give me any information. This was on Valentine’s Day,” Schmidt told CBS 8 through tears. “I called probably 50 times they would not tell me anything. I found out that morning that he was gone.”
Police would tell her that Gil tested positive for methamphetamine and this likely contributed to his death. This was not true.
Schmidt had an independent autopsy carried out and the toxicology report showed that Gil did not have any drugs or alcohol in his system. The autopsy found that Gil died of asphyxiation likely due to diabetic shock. Schmidt said her dad spent his last moments alive, starving for oxygen inside of a cage.
“I just think of how scared he must have been,” said Schmidt. “I hope that he was so out of his mind that he didn’t know what was happening.”
Schmidt is now suing the San Diego police department for $25 million, alleging that their negligence led to her father’s death. She will likely win as Gil was the 15th person to die in the San Diego jail so far this year. Since 2006, 200 people have died while in the custody of San Diego police.
“Everybody knows what I’m thinking about,” she says. “Nobody will even talk to me about it because I start crying or I get angry. I just keep saying it’s not fair. It’s just not fair. I mean, it shouldn’t happen to anybody. I don’t care what you’re on or what you’re doing. It just should not happen. To be cold, alone in a jail cell, just left naked and dead.”
Sadly, cops mistaking medical problems for criminal behavior is an unfortunately common scenario.
Previously, TFTP reported the story of John Priest, who was savagely beaten by police, on video, by cops who mistook his low blood sugar for criminal activity.
As the video shows, Priest is stopped in the road in a clear state of diabetic distress when two Amarillo police officers pull up behind him. He is unable to respond to their commands and so police respond by smashing out the rear window and then hitting the unresponsive diabetic in the head multiple times.
As TFTP previously reported, like Priest, Carl Leadholm was in diabetic medical distress and needed help when he was targeted by five police officers. However, his innocence and the fact that he needed help was of no consequence to the officers who mistook low blood sugar for a criminal act. Like Priest, Leadholm was savagely beaten.