A disturbing video appears to show deputies in California laughing as a naked mentally ill man is restrained to a chair. He died shortly after.
Andrew Holland, 36, was a schizophrenic man who was arrested multiple times in his life over low-level offenses. He was allegedly bound to a restraint chair for 46 hours at the San Luis Obispo County Jail in January 2017. The Tribune in San Luis Obispo reviewed about 100 hours of footage after they investigated the incident releasing portions of late last week. The video released by the publication shows how Holland writhed on the floor, naked and struggling to breathe, after days of being restrained.
The newspaper’s findings contradict county officials’ earlier version of events.
Originally, it was reported that he died after being “found unconscious and unresponsive” and “under the continual care of a physician.” A medical examiner said he died of natural causes, citing a pulmonary embolism after a blood clot traveled to Holland’s lung. It is jail policy that restrained inmate’s extremities must be rotated every one to two hours to prevent blood clots, according to The Guardian.
The footage also appears to show officers laughing while Holland is dying.
The sheriff’s department responded to the death in a statement posted on its Facebook page over the weekend.
“Andrew Holland was serving a 2-year sentence at the County Jail for a crime of violence. Mr. Holland had a long history of violence and mental illness. He had voluntarily stopped taking his medication. Medical and jail staff observed Holland repeatedly striking himself with his fists and had bloodied his face,” the statement says. It goes on to blame a nearby mental health department for refusing to accept him. It also claims that the jail was merely following procedure by putting Holland in restraints.
The statement does not address allegations that the deputies laughed at Holland’s misfortune. Sheriff Ian Parkinson acknowledged last summer that the jail was responsible in part for Holland's death. However, it is unclear if anyone was disciplined in connection with the incident.
Last summer, Holland’s family was awarded a $5 million settlement from the county. His family reportedly used that money to create a nonprofit for imprisoned mentally ill people, according to The Tribune.
[Photo: San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office]