Sheriff Ian Parkinson accepts responsibility for Holland death

March 29, 2018

Sheriff Ian Parkinson


The Tribune and many citizens have questioned my actions and statements regarding Andrew Holland’s tragic death.

I have sincerely attempted to address the issues fully and factually. My department is also cooperating fully with the FBI’s investigation, which I formally requested. But I realize my efforts have not been perceived as I intended: Fully transparent and accountable.

I accept full responsibility for my department. I apologize to the community and to the Holland family for not personally doing more to help Andrew.

I am committed to changing the system that led to this terrible event. With the support of the Board of Supervisors and advice from health professionals, my department and other county departments have already made significant changes in our policies and procedures to chart a better way forward. We are determined to prevent a future tragedy.

I know that my department has more work to do. We also have more work to do as a community. We are all failing if we think that our current system of jailing the mentally ill is adequate.

As to the Tribune’s main questions and opinions about what happened, here are my responses:

Tribune: “Parkinson approved placing Holland in the restraint chair, but did the sheriff know he was held there for 46 hours? If so, did he condone that?”

Nobody would intentionally condone that. I was not aware of the duration, but I take responsibility for not realizing the terrible path the system had put Mr. Holland on.
This was a system-wide communications failure, and I have changed procedures accordingly.

In addition to giving staff better training to deal with mentally ill inmates, we also are providing training to empower the staff to recognize when to hit pause on policy and adjust to unpredictable situations.

Tribune: The county said that Holland was “found unconscious and unresponsive” and that he was “under the continual care of a physician” at the time. The video shows this was clearly not the case.

The Tribune is referring to the news release my department issued Jan. 23, 2017, the day after Mr. Holland’s death. I believe the video shows that Mr. Holland was indeed unconscious and unresponsive, and this is why our staff called for help.

As to the statement that Mr. Holland was “under the continual care of a physician,” I should have made sure it more clearly described the medical and mental health attention Mr. Holland received. Medical and mental health professionals were regularly checking on his condition, approximately every four hours.

Tribune: And how does the sheriff explain the callous behavior of the deputies surrounding Holland?

The video shows a deputy who laughs while others are struggling to give Mr. Holland a life-saving injection. Because the paramedic couldn’t find a vein, the only choice was an injection directly into a leg bone in order to reach Mr. Holland’s bone marrow.

This required the use of a very large needle. The deputy in question is actually responding to a colleague behind him who tells him he is feeling nausea from the needle and the stress of the situation. The deputy turns to his queasy colleague with a nervous laugh. I assure you, the deputy’s reaction is not being directed to Mr. Holland.

Tribune: Why was no one disciplined or held accountable for Holland’s death?

If anybody in my department failed to follow procedures or engaged in deliberate misconduct, I would have taken immediate disciplinary action. I am the person to hold accountable. It’s my job to make sure our policies are appropriate and effective.

I am also holding my department accountable to continue working with other county departments and community partners to implement substantial changes to the medical and mental health care provided to inmates.

I admit that I have been resentful about how another department’s actions left my staff in a tough position. As I told the Board of Supervisors about the lessons we have learned from this tragedy, we should have forced alternatives and demanded help for Mr. Holland.

I am deeply sorry that we failed Mr. Holland. I apologize to his family, and to the community. My colleagues and I are determined to make amends by doing all that we can to prevent another tragedy.


Hopefully many other people that have read this will see clearly what is being done here. Mr. Parkinson is doing exactly what hundreds of other elected or appointed officials at all levels of government have done – trying to find out what story to tell to pacify the public.

For recap, 1st story – nobody did anything wrong, everything done was 100% correct. 2nd story – the health department is to blame for not taking this prisoner off our hands. 3rd story – I am to blame for everything that was done (although I still say nothing wrong was done). This holds water about as good as a sieve. If the sheriff had come out with this stance when this torture took place and had been totally open and transparent about everything from the start, then maybe things would be different. But no, he sees fit to let things come out in dribs and drabs – changing his story as he feels necessary.

I’m sure that some of you may remember a president by the name of Tricky Dick that did this same thing back in ’73 and ’74. Going around saying how innocent he was – holding his fingers in a “V” and stating that “he was not a crook”. Well we seen how that turned out. So for god’s sake, Ian, stop repeating history and be a real man.


I just have one problem with your “Accepting Responsibility” Sheriff Parker, the way you tried and failed to address why Mr. Holland was in that chair for 46 hours, 46 hours of no use of a bathroom and being naked. Your “Nobody would intentionally condone that.” rings hollow, as someone, or someones, sure as hell did condone it and let it happen.


Never really had an opinion on Parkinson…until now. I’ll be voting for him. Why? Because a cabal of leftist scum wants to unseat him. ‘Nuff said.


Typical scummy member of the “right wing cabal” putting party loyalty above human rights and human life? Oh, you betcha!


Blah blah blah, what have really tried to accomplish at the jail.

The San Luis Obispo County Jail is not run as a cutting edge facility, more like a bare bones this is the minimum we have to provide facility.

I mean really, charging for tampons!!!

Which in itself is not a big deal, it more shows the mind set of you and your minions:(

Why don’t you actually go to the facility, talk to inmates, get the unvarnished truth about how it’s being run, come up with better ways to treat inmates.

Criminals are people too, Mr Parkinson!!!

Your facility punishes many inmates and their families just for the fact that their poor, is that right?

Holland Family wasn’t poor, and the blow back on you is what your apology is really about, consider those with little or no resources that have been ground up in your mismanaged facility:(


I worked with Ian at SLOPD for nearly 25 years. He is a stand up guy who never ducked his responsibilities or made excuses if things didn’t go well. After major incidents, as a SWAT Team member and later a SWAT supervisor, Ian led or participated in many post-incident debriefings during which we reviewed what we did well and what we could have done better. What I am seeing now from Ian is the same approach. He has gathered the facts, is up front about things they should have done differently and is working hard to make changes that will lesson the chances of a future tragedy like the death of Mt Holland. I will say that I have often thought of what I would have done had I been a jail supervisor at the time Mr. Holland was engaged in self destructive behavior. It would have been a difficult situation to be in. If Mental Health refused to take him (which I believe was likely the case based on my own experiences dealing with combative people with mental disabilities) what should jail personnel have done? Leaving him unrestrained, even in a padded cell, was not a good option. He could have still severely injured himself (like breaking his neck head butting the walls). As I understand it, forced medicating was requested and rejected. Clearly, Mental Health and Law Enforcement need to work together more closely in the future. I have complete confidence in Ian leading the effort to develop more effective policies and protocols in the future.


The problem here isn’t the use of the “restraint chair” but the abuse of it and the lack of accountability with those charged with the responsibility of its proper use.

In Oklahoma a similar situation occurred where an individual died after 48 hours of this torture, the Sheriff and five others were indicted for the death (July 2017). In Georgia a person died after being put in a restraint chair, and then tased for good measure, and two deputies and a nurse were charged with voluntary manslaughter (Oct. 2015). Again in Georgia nine deputies lost their jobs after an inmate they were charged to care for died in a restraint chair (July 2015). There are many other cases where inmates have been beaten, peppered sprayed and otherwise abused that didn’t cause death where those responsible were held accountable. Here in SLO it appears the only ones being held responsible are, as usual, is the tax payer.

Now, please give us all one verifiable incident in the SLO county jail where an inmate has caused his or her own death or serious injury by butting their head against a padded cell wall, just one. I can’t seem to find one linked to SLO county jail, not one. Maybe you know something that was never reported? If so, that brings up a slew of other questions about possible cover ups at the county jail.

The restraint chair is not the problem when properly used, it’s the people charged with its proper use that are the problem, and because of that the chair should be banned. Human nature is filled with a dark side, couple that with the overwhelming majority of those that use a badge for the purpose of exerting power rather than providing service (especially those who become callous after time in their position), the chair becomes an easier means for them to enforce and use that power to the demise of the person in it.

And why is it that “effective policies and protocols” are only “developed” after something like this occurs? Why is it that LOA’s are more prone to be reactive than proactive? It’s time for law enforcement to “Man Up”, take responsibility for what they’ve done and face the same consequences as any normal citizen would.


Accepts responsibility? Who cares? The fact that he took so long to take responsibility for it indicates he never thought he did anything wrong in the first place. An apology that includes excuses for bad actions is not an apology, it’s more of an insult. This is all just Parkinson’s attempt to take attention away from his apathy towards known and long-standing issues. Someone died, yet no one will be punished, despite the guy in charge taking responsibility.


RESIGN first, then apology accepted.


Unless his apology comes with a 5 million dollar check from his personal account, tell him he can keep his too late apology.


Sheriff Ian’s fake apology is too little, too late.

There were many other inmates who died in your jail, Ian. Did you apologize to their families, too?

And you say that you’ll “hold your department accountable”…that’s B.S. There will be no firings, no demotions. Business as usual. You know that, Ian. The LEO community’s not gonna throw any of its own under the bus. (Heck, I’m still wondering when the cop whose dogs mauled a guy to death will face justice.)

And to those who claim that the Left is only latching onto this tragedy as a way to oust Ian Parkinson–knock it off. I am NOT a so-called progressive. I did NOT vote for HRC. I am not a Democrat…just merely a taxpayer who thinks the buck should stop at the top with Ian. If he were sincere, he’d resign.

So much #@%$ has happened at the sheriff’s dept/jail for YEARS and it’s time for new leadership…especially after a man was literally tortured to death there.

So to those who blindly support Ian just because he’s on the Right, would your perspective be different if Ian were a Democrat? What if the tables were turned? Is Ian’s party affiliation more important than getting competent, honest leadership at our county jail?