Sheriff Parkinson finds no wrongdoing in death of inmate

April 13, 2017

Sheriff Ian Parkinson


There are multiple reports, logs and press releases documenting Andrew Holland’s time in county custody and his death, many of which include conflicting information. San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Department staffers appear to be manipulating the truth in order to support the sheriff’s claim that Holland died from natural causes.

On Jan. 20, deputies strapped Holland naked in a restraint chair in the frigid drunk tank where he remained until shortly before his death, two days later, according to jail records.

While in restraints, blood clots formed in the 36-year-old man’s legs. Upon his release, a blood clot traveled to his right lung causing a pulmonary embolism and his death, according to a preliminary autopsy report from Dr. Duc Van Duong, a forensic pathologist who performed a second autopsy on Holland.

In his pathological diagnosis, Van Duong noted a pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis in Holland’s legs, scarring and obesity.

A pathologist working for the San Luis Obispo County Coroner also performed an autopsy on Holland. Dr. Gary Walter concluded that Holland died from a 5-cenimeter-long blood clot that formed while Holland was strapped in a restraint chair for more than 46 hours and then moved to his lung.

The county coroner then ruled Holland’s death as natural.

In March 2016, Walter was involved in a hit-and-run on his way to perform an autopsy. While not cited for the hit and run, officers did arrest Walter for driving with a .19 blood alcohol level.

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson oversees the jail, the coroner’s office and the sheriff’s department. While Parkinson has agreed that being strapped in a restraint chair for two days could have contributed to Holland’s death, he contends that a fatality from a pulmonary embolism is a natural cause of death.

Restraint chair model 1310

Nevertheless, restraint chairs have long been linked to pulmonary embolism, a potentially fatal blood clot that can be caused by physical trauma followed by immobility, and the same circumstances that occurred prior to Holland’s death.

In the coroner’s report, Senor Deputy Coroner Jason Caron includes information about the Pro-Straint chair model 1310 and its features that help improve circulation and prevent blood clots which he pulled from the chair manufacture’s website.

“The 7-point harness system provides maximum security while the soft wrist and ankle restraints and an ergonomic “pocket” for each leg provide greater control without sacrificing overall circulation,” Caron includes in his report.

Restraint chair model 1200

However, deputies strapped Holland in an older Pro-Straint model, the 1200, that did not include the “soft wrist and ankle restraints and an ergonomic ‘pocket’ for each leg,” according to a 2005 receipt for the chair, the manufacturer and photos of the chair.

Several months before his death, Holland’s parents pleaded with jail medical staff to allow their schizophrenic son to take the psychiatric medications that work for him. However, at the jail, medications are not chosen because of effectiveness, but the cost, sources said.

On Jan. 10, San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Duffy ordered the county to medicate Holland for his mental illness.

While Holland was strapped in the chair, county health officials refused to provide him with medications that effectively treat his illness, sources said. At the time of his death, there were no medications for schizophrenia in his body, according to the toxicology report.

Shortly after Holland’s death, the sheriff’s department sent out a press release that drastically contradicts custody records and both autopsy reports.

For example, Cipolla noted that Holland’s body showed no signs of trauma.

“There were no outward signs of trauma on Holland’s body,” Cipolla wrote in the press release.

However, Holland died with blood, scars, abrasions, bruising and swelling on his body, according to Holland’s chart and the autopsy reports.

In the six years since Ian Parkinson was sworn in as sheriff, 11 people have died while in San Luis Obispo County Jail custody, twice the number who died in the prior six years, according to the California Department of Justice. Earlier today, a 60-year-old man died in the SLO County Jail, of what staffers are again calling natural causes.




  1. Pelican1 says:


    (20) 22 Total Votes - 21 up - 1 down
    • kayaknut says:

      But it’s okay since it was done by law enforcement people, we all know laws are for the common folks and not intended for LEO’s or special people.

      (17) 17 Total Votes - 17 up - 0 down
  2. pi-on says:

    Can’t believe this is actually what they are reporting. I honestly can’t believe this. I wonder what is it going to take for an actual change in their policies to make sure this doesn’t happen to someone else!

    (26) 28 Total Votes - 27 up - 1 down
    • kayaknut says:

      What is it going to take? A start would be a new sheriff but our elected officials will not do what is needed.

      (19) 19 Total Votes - 19 up - 0 down
  3. DocT says:

    It is the official policy of the SLO Sheriff to NOT kill inmates, therefore any inmate that dies while in custody does so naturally and without the permission or assistance of the Sheriff, medical personnel or staff.

    So, this case is concluded. Also, the coroner who drove drunk to an autopsy and committed a hit and run on the way has ruled that Holland’s death is due to natural causes. This is bulletproof testimony from a medical professional and a damn skillful driver. His blood alcohol was .19 and he was still able to do drive pretty good….only hitting one car.

    Anyone smart enough to perform autopsies that drunk must be pretty good at their job! Assuming the local coroner was sober when he performed Holland’s autopsy, we must all conclude that the clot in his leg just sort of happened on its own.

    Certainly being strapped in a chair for two days would cause a thrombus to form if you or I did it, but the sheriff knows how to strap people in that chair so that they die of natural causes.

    Nothing to see here folks, move along.

    (39) 41 Total Votes - 40 up - 1 down
  4. jana says:

    Does it seem odd that the sheriff only called a press conference until AFTER the Tribune ran the story of the death? If the Tribune had not ran the story would the sheriff had kept quiet and hoped this all just went away?

    Now the sheriff asks the DA and FBI to come in and do an independent investigation. If he was so sincere about being transparent why didn’t he request an independent investigation back in January?

    Sheriff Parkinson is up for reelection next year and I think he is using these investigations to give himself political cover for next year’s elections.

    (22) 26 Total Votes - 24 up - 2 down
  5. Kaiser Bill says:

    SLO County elected Parkinson, we get what we deserve! There were many other candidates who would have been better than Parkinson, but he had the SLO City money backing him as their native son. Recall that Parkinson had never lead a law enforcement agency and didn’t possess a college degree. His big feather in the cap on his resume was running security for the Mid State Fair and sending wasted rednecks off to the Drunk Tank. Parkinson did Fair Security while on Vacation from SLOPD, classic double dipping.

    (21) 23 Total Votes - 22 up - 1 down
    • paragon says:

      Very true. Parkinson has a long history of shady coverups. There is strong evidence that he had a relative write his Sergeant application. In a shocking conflict of interest, he also testified as an “expert witness” in a case that enabled his sister-in-law to collect a $1.4 million judgement (see the “Ian Parkinson: Witness for hire” article in the CCN archives). The list goes on and on. Anyone hoping this tiger will change his stripes will be very disappointed.

      I’m sure if you had any of the inmates at county investigate themselves, they would have come to the same conclusion Parkinson did when he investigated himself: No wrongdoing.

      (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
  6. Freethebud says:

    Parkinson needs to take responsibility. He is the top dog in local law enforcement and I am pretty sure hie oversees the county jail as part of his duties. If his personnel strapped a man in this chair for longer than a couple of hours at a time then it’s on him the man died of a pulmonary embolism. Seems nobody is willing to take responsibility for their actions these days. What ever happened to “The Buck Stops Here”?

    (29) 35 Total Votes - 32 up - 3 down
  7. Ricky2 says:

    Sheriff and coroner don’t have a leg to stand on claiming blood clots forming in leg were not the result of 46 hours of forced confinement to a chair. Everybody knows even a transcontinental air flight is enough to cause blood clots to form in the legs, and that’s why medical people tell us to get up and move around during long flights. But, hey, those are just fake facts, right?

    The lack of human concern and indifference to life exhibited by these LEOs is shocking.

    (31) 33 Total Votes - 32 up - 1 down
  8. kayaknut says:

    Of course Sheriff Parkinson is not worried about any of the deaths in his jail, he knows none of our elected officials will hold him responsible, he thinks he walks on water.

    (28) 36 Total Votes - 32 up - 4 down
  9. jimmy_me says:

    Very inspirational piece; I’m inspired to never find myself in “county custody”.

    (38) 42 Total Votes - 40 up - 2 down

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