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Were policies followed at SLO County Jail leading up to inmate’s death?

Posted at 7:02 PM, May 31, 2018

The family of an inmate who died while in custody at the San Luis Obispo County jail held a press conference saying policies were not followed with deadly consequences and KSBY News now has the jail cell video.

The Holland family penned an open letter to Sheriff Ian Parkinson, five days before the election, and demanded certain questions be answered so voters can make an informed decision before heading to the polls.

Let’s get you up to speed on this story:
-Andrew Holland died while in custody in January of last year.
-Diagnosed with schizophrenia, the sheriff has said Holland was suffering a psychotic episode and was placed in a restraint chair to keep from harming himself.
-He was left in that chair for 46 hours and died from a blood clot.
-His family is now calling into question policies they say were not followed.

KSBY News has acquired from a source the jail cell video, which the county has refused to make public. KSBY Anchor Carina Corral poured through the 46 hours of video. Here are her findings:

According to the sheriff’s department’s restraint policy in affect at the time of Holland’s death, correctional deputies were supposed to perform range of motion exercises on each limb every two hours for ten minutes to prevent blood clots.

Our investigation shows none of the range of motion exercises were performed for an entire ten minutes: the longest duration was seven and a half minutes and the shortest was one minute and ten seconds and during a 24-hour period, the longest duration was two minutes and ten seconds. There were two instances when three hours had lapsed in between exercises. Holland was also not allowed to use the restroom every two hours, per policy. The video has no audio so it is hard to tell why the exercises were not performed for as long as required.

“Andrew died of a pulmonary embolism, a product of deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot growing in his leg,” Tave Holland said, Andrew’s cousin and family spokesperson. At the press conference surrounded by Andrew’s brothers and parents, Tave also said, “It baffles me that still the sheriff goes out and says that unequivocally they followed all policies.”

The family also called into question why Holland was restrained for so long after he was reportedly medicated. During a live, sheriff’s debate on KSBY, Parkinson said he had “no knowledge of an injection.”

Although, 90 minutes after being restrained, the video appears to show a nurse holding a needle and injecting Holland with what medical logs show is a sedative.

Sheriff Parkinson declined our request for an interview and a comment on our findings, but his office did release this statement: “We respectfully disagree with the Holland family’s allegations and stand by our previous statements and responses to these same questions which we have already answered.”

An FBI investigation is underway into Holland’s death and has said previously he believes the investigation will vindicate his department of any wrongdoing.

The sheriff maintains it was county mental health’s decision to keep Holland restrained, which is why, he said, the county settled with the Holland family for $5 million for medical malpractice.

The Holland family has used some of that money to back Parkinson’s challenger in the race: Greg Clayton.