Loss of Life and Lives Changed Forever.
The Corruption Must Stop Now.
Andrew Holland was loved for his joy, humor and boundless capacity to love in return. But his journey through life was to be a difficult one. As a young man, Andrew began showing signs of mental illness that would eventually be diagnosed as schizophrenia.
By his early 20’s, the truth of Andrew’s illness had to be faced; his parents, Carty and Sharon Holland, worked tirelessly and spent vast sums to enroll him in various rehabilitation and treatment programs. No resource was equipped to deal with his diagnosis, and life became an endless search for help that was not available and for answers which no one had.
At age 35, Andrew desperately sought alternatives to supplement medication and loved it when the courts allowed him to live with Carty and Sharon in their home. As difficult as it was to deal with Andrew’s brain disease, having him home was always their great joy.
Despite Andrew’s improvement at home, the County forced Andrew into communal housing where here was no psychiatric support. When County doctors prescribed cheap and ineffective medication, pleas to have it changed fell on deaf ears. As his mental state degraded, Andrew was kicked out of the program, went to the streets, and was eventually picked up for misdemeanor battery.
Once in the County Jail, Andrew was treated as most mentally ill inmates are… solitary confinement. Prior to his death, Andrew spent nearly fourteen months in and out of isolation, placing a tremendous toll on his tenuous mental state.
Still, Andrew held to his faith and tried to remain optimistic. The entire family looked forward to his release. But San Luis Obispo County again changed his medications, and there was no psychologist or psychiatrist to help him. No family was allowed to intervene or speak with him. Andrew quickly deteriorated.
On January 20, 2017, while he awaited court-ordered transfer to the County’s Psychiatric Health Facility, correctional officers at the SLO County Jail would strap him naked into a restraint chair, leaving him bound at the ankles, wrists and torso, for over 46 hours.
Andrew was not let up to go to the bathroom and he was offered virtually no food or water. He was put on display, naked, in a glass “drunk tank” cell in the middle of the jail for everyone to see. He was brutally punished for no reason other than being schizophrenic—left to die in the name of “protecting him” from himself.
Andrew was only released from what amounted to a torture chair so that the urine and feces that he had been forced to sit in could be cleaned up—apparently the 46+ hours hadn’t been enough for the Sheriff and his deputies at the jail. Before they could return him to the restraint chair, Andrew died an agonizing death from a pulmonary embolism caused by deep vein thrombosis—a massive blood clot formed during his long period of immobilization. This blood clot traveled to his lungs where it cut off his oxygen supply.
Andrew died a painful and horrific death as the correctional officers of the SLO County Jail watched him through the glass, doing absolutely nothing to assist him until after he was clearly dead.
What followed was a series of increasingly desperate and truly despicable efforts by the Sheriff and other elected officials of San Luis Obispo County to cover-up and deceive the public about what actually happened to Andrew.
Because of this cover up and inaction, the Holland family is appealing directly the people of San Luis Obispo County. This is why we are here: to stop the cover-up, to hold our elected officials responsible. There is no more fundamental role of government than protecting the lives of its citizens. In Andrew’s case, the Sheriff, the District Attorney, and the majority of the Board of Supervisors have failed.
Immediately after Andrew’s death, the Holland family watched the Sheriff’s Office investigate and clear itself of any wrongdoing through the vehicle of the Sheriff-controlled Coroner’s Office. Then, the District Attorney refused to investigate this blatantly criminal conduct because “he wasn’t invited to.” Finally, in a blatant attempt to provide political cover for the Sheriff, the county Board of Supervisors promised to pass “reforms,” which amounted to responses utterly disproportionate to the gravity of the problem.