Former SLO County deputy charged with abusing inmate

December 14, 2022


A federal grand jury indicted a former San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s deputy on federal criminal charges on Tuesday alleging he abused a female inmate and then obstructing a probe into his actions by lying about the incident in an official sheriff’s office report, the Justice Department announced today.

Joshua Fischer, 40, of Grover Beach is charged with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law and one count of falsification of records. If found guilty, he faces a sentence of up to 30 years in prison.

From Jan. 2017 through Dec. 2018, 40-year-old Joshua Fischer of Grover Beach worked as a SLO County Sheriff’s Office senior correctional deputy.

On Nov. 18, 2018, Fischer allegedly assaulted a bare chested female inmate who had exited her cell, and then returned to her cell. After the inmate returned to her cell, Fischer allegedly grabbed her from behind by her hair while she was still topless and dragged her on the ground into another cell.

Fischer then falsified a SLO County sheriff’s incident report by including false statements that the victim had thrown her shirt on the ground after removing it outside her cell, that she yelled and flailed her arms while re-entering her cell, and that Fischer “was in fear for the safety of the other female arrestee in the cell” because the victim was “still without her shirt, yelling and flailing her arms,” the indictment alleges.

However, the victim did not throw her shirt on the ground after removing it outside the cell, she was not flailing her arms around as she re-entered her cell, but instead her arms were by her side and then near her bare chest when Fischer assaulted her, according to the indictment.

If convicted of both charges, Fischer faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison on the deprivation of rights count and 20 years in federal prison for the falsification of records count.

The FBI investigated this matter. Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas F. Rybarczyk of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section and Frances S. Lewis of the General Crimes Section are prosecuting this case.

For years, the SLO County Jail has been dogged with allegations of civil rights abuses against inmates and of failures to follow state and federal rules and regulations.

Andrew Holland

In Jan. 2017, the county violated multiple rules and regulations in the treatment of Andrew Holland, a mentally ill man who died after being strapped in a restraint chair for two days in the SLO County Jail.

Following Holland’s death, the county paid a $5 million settlement to his parents and agreed to make multiple changes at the jail. Those changes included restricting the amount of time inmates can be locked in the rubber room to 72 hours, discontinuing use of the restraint chair and decreasing the amount of time it takes for the transfer of an inmate who has been court ordered to a mental health facility.

More than a year after the FBI mounted a criminal investigation into alleged civil rights abuses of inmates at the jail following Holland’s death, in 2018, the Department of Justice opened an investigation into how the sheriff’s department is complying with federal laws.

In 2021, SLO County agreed to pay a former inmate $175,000 and to correct violations of the American’s with disabilities Act that led the inmate to suffer a broken leg, according to an agreement finalized on June 23 between the United States and SLO County.

An inmate with a prosthetic leg alleged that as a result of being forced to use inaccessible facilities, he repeatedly fell. One of these falls caused him to fracture the femur bone in his partially amputated leg.

“This agreement does not affect any other civil or criminal investigations that the United States is currently conducting or may conduct of SLO County under the ADA or any other federal laws,” according to the agreement.

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So where is Joshua Fischer now? working in another police department somewhere?, which is the norm. They allow bad employees to transfer to somewhere else, retire with full benefits or make a questionable disability claim, again with full benefits.

The Sheriff’s Department has zero fault in Andrew Holland’s death. It was the fault of Dr Daisy Alano refusing to allow him to be admitted to the Inpatient Unit. It was also the fault of his family for not providing the financial resources to get their son the help he needed not leaving him abandoned at the jail. Dr Alano is being investigated and the Hollands have to live with their bad decisions for the rest of their lives.

You have got to be someone very close to the Holland “tragedy” in order to attempt redirection of blame and ease guilty consciences. Any comfort acquired from this action is at the expense of the Holland family. Haven’t they suffered enough without you using them to make yourself feel better?

I hadn’t realized one Daisy Alano ordered and forced you to restrain Mr. Holland in a chair for two days without any life essentials. She must be a very powerful woman to make supposedly grown men in the Sheriff’s department comply with her every wish, even in the face of an obviously immoral and illegal order.

I also hadn’t realized the Holland family had the option to remove Mr. Holland from the jail, but simply elected to “abandon” him to the Sheriff’s department, and their well-known justice and mercy.

I also hadn’t realized the Holland family had the option of just paying a ransom… oops, I mean “providing the financial resources” necessary to recover their son from the clutches of his keepers. Even if the family could legally force an adult in their family to get the “help he needed”, there are not enough “financial resources” that can be provided by any regular people to “help” anyone suffering from Mr. Holland’s malady. Only the courts could force Mr. Holland to get the “help he needed”, and the “financial resources” necessary for that are beyond those of anyone but the very wealthy.

There are crazies at jail and both sexes act out and misbehave, that’s why they are there. There is the likely hood that reports are regularly kept to a docile verbiage to protect the working staff from becoming patterned into that world. From what I see on the streets, jail must be a real hell.

30 years?!? That is excessive. That girl that literally killed someone driving while high on meth only got 15! Seems like everyone forgets these inmates are the the worst people our society has to offer. Day in and day out these officers are verbally and often physically abused themselves but when one so much as deals with an inmate in a similar manner it’s a 30 year charge. OUTRAGEOUS and BACKWARDS!

Don’t worry yourself too much about it. This good ol’ boy will get one year of probation. Maybe.

The possible sentence is the standard for the alleged crimes committed. The 20 yr. part is for falsifying the record. Falsified records are the way many get away with horrendous abuses, and therefore carries the stiffer sentence. Still, this is only the upper limit of sentencing. Since when does any LEO ever get the full sentence?

Personally, I would prefer that those with power over are held to a much higher standard of conduct than the criminals have practiced leading to incarceration.