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Protestors interrupt San Luis Obispo county meeting, calling for jail reform

Matt Klepfer
Demonstrators stand silently at the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting on March 21, 2018.

Demonstrators temporarily shut down a San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, calling for the resignation of the county sheriff and reform of county jail operations and policies.

About 15 people carrying a man on a gurney walked into the county meeting, demanding justice for former county jail inmate Andrew Holland.

36-year-old Holland died in custody last year after spending 46 hours strapped to a restraint chair in a holding cell. Late last week, the San Luis Obispo Tribune released a video comprised of jail surveillance video showing the hours leading up to Holland's death, renewing outrage over how county law enforcement officials and personnel treat mentally ill inmates. 

Mick Bruckner is a Cal Poly fourth year student, and organizer of the protest.

“We were students, members of various community organizations, and honestly, folks that heard about the issue and were really upset and wanted to do something about it,” said Bruckner. “We walked in silently  in front of the dais where all the supervisors were sitting. We sat down on the gurney and stood there and held our signs silently.”

Bruckner said the group entered board chambers carrying a man on a gurney, and held signs in a silent protest. The signs called for the resignation of San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson. Bruckner said his group hasn't been happy with the county's response since Holland's death in January, 2017.

“Several statements were put out over the weekend by the Sheriff’s office and the DA’s office that kind of pointed fingers at each other," Bruckner said. "We weren’t happy with that response. And we decided to take it to the board of supervisors, who is responsible for the county jail.”

The board did not address the protestors, but called for a recess. When the protesters didn't leave, the board adjourned until the afternoon.

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