Dan Dow calls Tribune reporting on jail deaths misleading

August 2, 2017

District Attorney Dan Dow

After reading the Tribune’s article, “SLO County Jail is under FBI investigation after 11 inmate deaths,” San Luis Obispo County District attorney Dan Dow called the Tribunes Aug. 1 article misleading and inaccurate. [Cal Coast Times]

In the article, the reporter says that Dow has forwarded multiple complaints about the deaths in the jail to the FBI. Tribune reporter Matt Fountain then links the investigation to a press conference attended by Dow, Sheriff Ian Parkinson and FBI agent Sean Ragan.

“Beware of misleading and sensational news headlines,” Dow said on an Aug. 1 Facebook post. “The timing of and wording of today’s online Tribune article misleads readers to believe that the FBI is suddenly launching a new investigation into the Sheriff’s Office. This is NOT the truth and certainly not new news.

“This afternoon, I asked the Tribune to correct the misleading headline. They declined,” Dow added.

Read entire article at Cal Coast Times.


Not to be “the guy” who states people down voting good voices here whom comment; but i see them. And to the people who might rate here involved in these atrocious crimes of torture, your time is up. Slo county law enforcement, the FBI is here and going to get you. No pension or IRA. Including the whole Grover beach K-9 fiasco and At-own p.d. profiling- being a victim of that too, without any charges! Know your rights!


I think Dow is jumping the gun on the findings of the investigation. It’s standard operating procedure to have investigations, but the investigations never find any fault with anything that happened. I’d be surprised if the $5million settlement included a phrase such as “no one in the county is admitting any wrong doing”. Here’s a large pile of cash, but we did nothing wrong.


If a private citizen tied somebody up in a chair and killed him that would be considered first degree murder. This crime needs to be prosecuted. The victims family deserves justice not just 5 million.


You seem to forget, there are laws and rules for us serfs and then there those for the protected class, police break the laws all time and seldom have consequences. Even the 5 million being paid this last time comes from the taxpayers not the budgets of Sheriff Parkison’s department so there is little reason for them to change.


To quote the Clash:

“Murder is a crime… unless it is done by a policeman…

…or an aristocrat!”

Know your rights.


I think what Dan Dow is trying to say (albeit badly) is that the FBI’s involvement isn’t new, and that perhaps they invited the FBI to investigate in the spirit of transparency. It’s like trying to interpret cave man talk, so I might be wrong…

Here is what I do know: The prison re-alignment bill (AB 109 I believe) transferred care of certain levels of inmates from State care to County care. The County facilities were not really equipped or staffed to deal with all these inmates and for these long time periods. The jail is forced to take Mental Health overflow since there is no where else for them to go. It costs a LOT of money to expand a jail facility, so I can understand why that process is taking time.

What I don’t understand is why County officials act shady and speak in such cryptic manner.

It makes something not exciting seem newsworthy. Can’t they just say, “hey, when people die in a jail under abnormal circumstances, it is policy to call in an outside agency. For us, it was the FBI since we wanted an unbiased, outside source to investigate and make some recommendations.” ?

Just be honest. There is no sugar coating strapping a man naked to a restraint chair for two days.


Maybe one of the reasons that the county doesn’t take their mentally ill prisoners to the Atascadero State Hospital is because of the related costs. The annual cost per inmate at ASH is in excess of $220,000 a year. Simply put that is over $600 per day. So much for a budget.


So the 5 million of taxpayer money being paid out could have bought over 8,300 days at ASH, hmmmmmm.


They don’t take people to ASH because it is for those CONVICTED of a crime and are found to be mentally ill by the state. It is not for those waiting for their day in court.

Sending someone who is bi-polar to ASH will do them more harm than good.

THEY could take them to General Hospital on Laurel…

….oh wait we got rid of that fine hospital to save money then pointed the mentally ill towards the train tracks……nevermind.

I guess hog-tying them is the best we can do. We could mitigate it a bit and toss in some virtual reality gear instead of the blacked out helmet–just a thought.


The County administration doesn’t believe our mental health problem or drug problem is in existence until these poor humans become entangled with law enforcement. Jeff Hamm repeated tells staff the Public Health prevention programs are OPTIONAL. So, when the budget is bad, he uses his analytic mind. If my budget is XX dollars, what programs MUST be budgeted and what programs are optional. They fund every little thing Ian Parkinson asks for, like panga boat catchers, unicorn catchers, and county club sheriff substations. These are for “public safety” and therefore optional. Unfortunately, that costs a LOT of money, so when the “other” parts of the county want to have more mental health staff, nurses, or social workers to help get our mentally ill or drug abusing citizens into treatment, there isn’t the staff or resources. I really wish the Board of Supervisors would understand that if they actually staff preventative services, half these situations wouldn’t escalate to the point where people are on the news or housed in the jail unnecessarily.

I know I am always talking about prevention and social workers like a liberal, but in all actuality, prevention ALWAYS saves money. Study after study show that for every 1 dollar spent on prevention, 4 is saved in actual cost. So, if the county had some real mental health treatment prevention THAT WORKS in place, think of the 5 million dollars they could have saved.


Does it really matter?

Statistics can be skewed to support a cause, but in this case, it’s just pure numbers.

Besides, is being already under investigation a good thing?


The Tribune posted a new article that says that the investigation was not started because of Ian Parkinson and that it was started before his press conference. However, the story saying the opposite is still up. Really?

George Bailey

Mr. Dan Dow,

With all due respect, I think most taxpaying citizens understand that SLO County Sheriff Ian Parkinson NEEDS to be investigated, and taxpayers just shelled out $5 million dollars to the family of a man who died when Parkinson’s underlings left the man locked in a wheelchair for 48 hours straight, without allowing him to stand up or move his limbs.

We need public officials like you to step up and protect the public, not defend the actions of the political class. As you know, the death of that man, and others in custody needs to be investigated, and the Sheriff’s buddies cannot credibly do that.

Although the SLO Tribune may have made a mistake, and they make a lot, that doesn’t change the fundamental issue regarding the abuse of citizens while in law enforcement custody. I personally feel Sheriff Parkinson ought to be charged with manslaughter.

I hope you agree.



From Cal Coast Times:

“During a press conference announcing the settlement agreement, Paula Canny, an attorney for the Holland family, chastised county officials for spreading misinformation about Holland’s death through a press release.

In the press release, Parkinson maintains that jail staff followed all protocols about the use of restraint chairs and that the chair did not cause the blood clot to form in Holland’s leg.”

“The problem is that the second part of their press release is pure fantasy, Canny said. “If this is what happened do you really think they would pay $5 million to the Hollands?”

This says it all.


So it’s not sudden. Is that Dow’s complaint?


Well if anyone would know first hand how to be “misleading and inaccurate” it would be DA Dan Dow.