SLO Tribune releases jail torture video, fails to credit earlier reporting

March 17, 2018

Carty (Andrew’s father) and Andrew Holland

A stunning video documenting how Andrew Holland was strapped in a restraint chair at the San Luis Obispo County Jail for more than 46 hours, and how he died while sheriff deputies laugh in the background, was released Friday by the Tribune.

The video supports the investigative reporting of CalCoastNews, that showed Holland was kept in solitary confinement in a cell littered with food and Styrofoam boxes. In SLO County Jail’s isolation cells, deputies push Styrofoam food containers through a slot on the door, but fail to retrieve them leaving the food to mold and creating a stench.

While held naked in a filthy cell, Holland began punching himself in the face. His jailers responded by strapping him naked in a restraint chair  where he was left for more than 46 hours. During this time he was offered little food or water and never permitted to use a bathroom.

In the video, guards watch as Holland struggles, and after he loses consciousness, they enter the cell. In the video, guards are seen laughing while Holland is dying.

In a press release issued shortly after Holland’s death, sheriff department spokesperson Tony Cipolla painted a picture of a detainee who died mysteriously, without any bruising or marks on his body and while under continual medical care. Cipolla’s release drastically contradicted custody records, a preliminary autopsy report and multiple sources who spoke with CalCoastNews.

While CalCoastNews was publishing articles about Holland’s death in the restraint chair and the discrepancies in the press release, Tribune reporter Matt Fountain was parroting false claims from the press release and from Sheriff Ian Parkinson.

While Fountain’s reporting now supports earlier CalCoastNews articles, the Tribune has again taken the work of CalCoastNews reporters and claimed it as their own. For several years, CCN reporters cultivated sources, sent public records requests, and performed interviews while investigating a string of deaths in the county jail. In most cases, reporters credit journalists for their investigative reporting.

For more than eight years, the Tribune has trailed CalCoastNews. After CalCoastNews conducts in-depth investigations and reports stories, Tribune reporters regularly lodge requests for the same document, call sources named by CalCoastNews and then publish similar articles. The Tribune claims the work as their original investigative reporting, and then often enters the articles in journalism awards competitions.

In Feb. 2009, CalCoastNews published an article about Dancing Star, a sanctuary that had become a killing field for protected animals. The Tribune later produced a similar article using the same sources and information.

The Tribune then entered a California Newspaper Publishers Association press competition for original investigative reporting, which the paper won.

After CalCoastNews began writing about hard money lending fraud by now-convicted and imprisoned developer Kelly Gearhart, the Tribune condemned CalCoastNews reporters noting they could be sued. Later, after multiple criminal investigation were disclosed, the Tribune began reporting on the same fraud. And again, the Tribune entered its original investigative reporting in journalism competitions.

In 2012, a Tribune columnist called CalCoastNews swamp gas for reporting on allegations that then- Paso Robles Chief of Police Lisa Solomon-Chitty had sexually assaulted her officers and violated laws banning ticket quotas. The Tribune followed on CalCoastNews’ stories and again entered its work as original investigative reporting, and again won an award.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

All deputies involved in this crime must be terminated….we do not need their type of enforcement in this county!!! If the Sheriff doesn’t act, he’s lost my vote.

This sad episode could be used for good if we keep the opportunist politicians and progressives out of this. The extreme left is just jumping on this bandwagon to get their own puppets into power. Pure opportunism at it’s best. The hypocrisy of Mayor Harmon condemning the Sheriff while under her leadership these same mentally ill folks aimlessly wander the streets of SLO . She has NO solutions or experience. Hey Heidi Harmon, bike lanes, styrofoam cups and straws are not as immediate a crises as these sad people roaming our streets in need of help. Andy was one of those good souls who would have avoided this whole debacle if we had a mental health system that worked. Shame on you for exploiting him. He deserved better. People before plastic.


I misspelled the poor man’s name–sorry. I can’t even process this whole disgusting situation so my brain & typing fingers are numb.

RIP Andrew Holland. Your family deserved every penny of their settlement…and then some.

“Your family deserved every penny of their settlement”…… but not from the taxpayers from Sheriff Parkinson personally. The only fault of the taxpayers was electing this terrible person to be our sheriff but hopefully we can correct this at the upcoming election.

The video is sickening.

Anyone with a conscience should feel nauseous. Andrew Hilland was a mentally ill man, not a hardened criminal.

Sheriff Ian–do YOU feel sick? Or are you just worried about keeping your job?

Are your deputies who were involved even remotely remorsefulfor torturing a man to death?

Condolences to Andrew’s friends & family.

And Sheriff Ian–you should RESIGN–which you won’t do but I do hope you are never re-elected.

CCN, using the tragic death of a young man to validate your reporting is low, insensitive, and proves that you are substandard.

If you want to read about it in more detail and see the video it has hit the national news…

With the current administration in Washington it makes one wonder if this will catch any type of traction on the national level. I mean, what could possibly top another Stormy Daniels update or the latest “resignation”?

It sure was a hit here in SLO, for short period of time anyway, a very short period… Then as anything connected with the American Culture of the “One Minute Memory” seeped in “American Home Grown Apathy”, it gets relegated to the coffers of another lost opportunity.

The real telling thing I noticed from afar with this situation; any real indignation was only shown after the money was paid. Yea, there was some after the incident was report but mostly when the money came up and then paid.

As always, you get what you pay for…

This story didn’t make the national news because of the Trib. They never would have reported on it had it not been for Cal Coast News.

The Trib provides cover for Parkinson and his buddies Hill and Gibson. Anything which shines a little light on the cockroaches of this county starts right here.

Ladies & Gentlemen,

I think we all can agree that San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson must go, and we cannot tolerate a law enforcement leader who disregards the safety,of those in custody, and the standard is even HIGHER when the prisoner is unable to look after his own well being. Andrew Holland did not deserve to die, and Sheriff Parkinson ought to be charged with manslaughter.

Moreover, as bad as the conduct of Sheriff Parkinson and his deputies was, (costing taxpayers $5 million dollars in settlement money), the unethical conduct of SLO County Sheriff’s Spokesperson Tony Cupola is even worse. Tony Cupola participated in a deliberate effort to mislead the taxpaying public, and he needs to be removed from his position by the SLO County Board of supervisors. Sheriff Parkinson, Spokesperson Tony Cupola, and the Sheriff’s Deputies who laughed at the tortured Andrew Holland MUST NOT be allowed to continue ‘business as usual’, and taxpayers deserve better than to pay the salaries of professional staffers who are not committed to doing their job’s in an ethical manner.

Andrew Holland did not deserve to be murdered, but he was, and Parkinson, Cupola and the deputies deserve to be prosecuted for his death.

George Bailey

Speak Truth To Power.

Bullies with Badges. Just another day in “Happy Happy City”.

I watched the video. It is truly heartbreaking, but it is more angering than anything. The man spent the last hour suffering. His limbs were shaking/twitching. He couldn’t stand up, so he had to lay naked on the floor with only a thin blanket. Then he spent quite a bit of time in respiratory distress. Then he finally loses consciousness. Some of the jail staff were completely unprofessional, laughing and smiling. I get so angry just thinking about it. Dan Dow needs to do his job and investigate. Ian Parkinson needs TO GO. Jeff Hamm is gone; hopefully his replacement has some medical background.