Disturbing jailhouse video reveals a group of California sheriff’s deputies watching and laughing at a mentally ill inmate — who’d spent the last 46 hours strapped naked to a chair — thrash about on the ground and then die.
Andrew Holland was diagnosed with schizophrenia in his early 20s and has been incarcerated on and off over the years — typically for minor offenses. He was last booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail in September 2015 for battery, resisting an officer and probation violation.
His family said Holland spent much of his time in a cramped isolation cell at the jail, where he can be seen striking himself repeatedly on Jan. 20, 2017 in footage obtained by the Tribune of San Luis Obispo.
The self-harm prompted authorities to strap him to a chair, where he remained restrained and naked for almost two full days.
The seven-minute video posted on the Tribune’s website shows the deputies returning to bring Holland food and water as well as periodically rotating his arms and legs.
Policy requires authorities to move a restrained inmate’s extremities every couple hours to prevent blood clots, which could result in a fatal embolism.
Deputies eventually move Holland from the chair to clean up the waste gathering beneath it — because he was restrained he was unable to use the nearby toilet.
When he arrives in a different cell, Holland lies down on the hard ground, with only a blanket to cover up. At one point he stands — only to be struck with tremors before he lays back down.
Vintage crime photos from the Daily News
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Several deputies can be seen watching from outside the cell as Holland slowly loses consciousness. When paramedics arrive to revive him, the officers can be seen chatting and smiling at one another.
Holland was pronounced dead on the floor of his cell on Jan. 22, 2017, about an hour after he was released from the plastic restraint chair. Video of the days leading up to his death appear to contradict officials’ version of events.
The county medical examiner ruled Holland had died of “natural” causes due to a pulmonary embolism. In a press release issued by the county, officials said Holland was “found unconscious and unresponsive.”
“At the time of his death, Holland was under the care of a physician,” the press release reads — though video of his death appears to show otherwise.
Holland’s family in July was awarded a $5 million settlement from the county. They intend to use the funds to create a nonprofit that will advocate for the mentally ill within the criminal justice system.