FBI headed to SLO County to probe Holland death

Andrew Holland

By KAREN VELIE

The FBI has sent emails to multiple employees of the San Luis Obispo County Jail asking them to voluntarily agree to interviews or face the possibility of receiving a subpoena to testify at a Grand Jury in Los Angeles, according to several jail staffers.

Shortly after the 2017 death of Andrew Holland, an inmate who died after being strapped naked in a restraint chair for almost two days, the FBI launched a criminal investigation into a series of deaths at the county jail. At that time, several county health department staffers said they were directed by their supervisor not to talk to investigators unless accompanied by county legal counsel.

At that time, several witnesses to the events that led up to Holland’s death did not speak with federal agents.

Before Holland’s death, a handful of current and former county employees, who requested anonymity because they feared retaliation, told CalCoastNews reporters that mentally ill inmates and patients were regularly mistreated and neglected by county staff. The mistreatment included long-term isolation, incorrect medications and failures to provide adequate health care, the employees said.

Shortly after Holland’s death, the sheriff’s department sent out a press release that drastically contradicted custody records and a preliminary autopsy report. In his release, sheriff department spokesperson Tony Cipolla painted a picture of a detainee who died mysteriously without any bruising or marks on his body. Allegations that were later disputed.

While Sheriff Ian Parkinson admits to having some responsibility for the death of Holland, he continues to promote a disputed narrative of the events that led to the inmate’s death. Even so, last week, county voters overwhelmingly voted to reelect Parkinson to another term in office.

In the recent emails, the FBI asks staffers to agree to be interviewed next week at Camp San Luis.

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