San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow reaffirmed on social media Thursday that he’s running for re-election. He has a challenger supported by the family of Andrew Holland, who died last year while in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail.
The Hollands are also trying to unseat Sheriff Ian Parkinson.
Carty Holland, the father of Andrew Holland, donated a total of $50,000 to two candidates running to replace Dow and Parkinson. Holland says he and his wife Sharon were moved to support the new candidates.
"One of the things I intend to do, would I be elected, would be to investigate the jail death of Andrew Holland," said Judge Mike Cummins, who is running for district attorney.
Private investigator and former San Luis Obispo police officer Greg Clayton is also vying for a top leadership position.
"I’m running for the Sheriff of San Luis Obispo County because I’m deeply troubled about the number of deaths that have occurred in San Luis Obispo County since 2012," Clayton said.
One of those inmates was Holland, a 36-year-old Atascadero resident with schizophrenia. He died after spending 46 hours strapped to a restraint chair.
"That’s inexcusable to me," Clayton explained. "There’s no plausible reason why that decision was made."
Holland’s parents have donated $25,000 each to Cummins’ and Clayton’s campaigns.
Carty Holland sent this statement to KSBY News:
We were moved to support Mike Cummins and Gregory Clayton as candidates. Both men are of strong convictions willing to support humane reform. When my wife and I settled with the County over our son’s death, we made it clear that the most important part of the settlement was change. The Sheriff has never admitted personal responsibility, and the D.A. has never investigated the case. Both reveal a lack of strong leadership which is necessary to real reform. We believe a change in leadership in the DAs and Sheriff’s office is something this county needs and deserves.
Clayton says a group of county residents including the Hollands approached him and encouraged him to run.
"I watched the video of Andrew Holland’s death. I reviewed the 11 other deaths and I thought this is a time in my life I needed to stand up," Clayton continued.
Cummins, who’s been a defense attorney, a prosecutor, and a judge, was approached by the Hollands shortly after he announced his decision to run.
"I’m honored to have their support. I can bring the experience of a full career in the law and the ability to properly analyze and evaluate cases," Cummins said.
Clayton added that there needs to be a dedicated psychiatric unit at the county jail.
We reached out to Sheriff Ian Parkinson, who said:
I fully understand that the Holland family is going through a difficult time. As much as I wish that they would work with me to change a state and nation wide crisis, I respect their right to financially support my declared opponent.
We also reached out to District Attorney Dan Dow, who has not yet provided a statement.
The Holland family reached a $5,000,000 settlement with the county over Andrew’s death.