A disturbing video shows Virginia sheriff’s deputies piling on a black man chained for 11 minutes in a psychiatric hospital until he stops moving.
Seven police officers and three hospital workers were indicted by a grand jury today for second-degree murder following the death of Irvo Otieno in police custody on March 6.
The charges came as new footage revealed the heartbreaking demise of the 28-year-old after he was taken in handcuffs and leg irons from the Henrico County Jail near Richmond, Virginia, to Central State Hospital in nearby Petersburg. .
Surveillance video, which has no sound, shows ten officers and medical personnel taking him to the hospital admissions room. He is placed on the floor and then restrained, the purpose unclear, with one officer lying on top of him and another apparently pressing his knee into Otieno’s head or neck, as up to 10 hospital workers look on, some of them helping occasionally. .
Eventually, he becomes weak, and efforts by police and hospital workers to resuscitate him proved unsuccessful.
Surveillance video, which has no sound, shows ten officers and medical personnel dragging Otieno into the hospital admissions room.
He is placed on the floor and then restrained, the purpose unclear, with one officer lying on top of him and another apparently pressing his knee into Otieno’s head or neck, as up to 10 hospital workers look on, some of them occasionally helping. .
Irvo Otieno, 28, was seen on security camera footage on March 6 being handcuffed by officers who pushed down “every part of his body” with “absolute brutality,” a lawyer for his family said. .
A Dinwiddie County grand jury today indicted seven officers and three hospital staff, most of whom are black.
Deputies are Kaiyell Dajour Sanders, 30, Dwayne Alan Bramble, 37, Bradley Thomas Disse, 43, Jermaine Lavar Branch, 45, Brandon Edwards Rodgers, 48, Tabitha Renee Levere, 50, and Randy Joseph Boyer, 57.
The hospital workers are Darian M. Blackwell, 23, Wavie L. Jones, 34, and Sadarius D. Williams, 27.
Otieno was detained by police three days earlier after experiencing a mental health crisis.
Detained for three days in the local jail, he was then transferred to the Central State Hospital, where he died.
According to preliminary autopsy results, he died of suffocation while “physically restrained,” Dinwiddie County District Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill said in a statement.
Last week, her mother, Caroline Ouko, said she was “going through mental illness”.
‘My son was treated like a dog, worse than a dog. I saw it with my own eyes… they suffocated my baby,’ he said.
A Dinwiddie County grand jury today indicted seven officers and three hospital staff, most of whom are black. Pictured: Dwayne Bramble and Jermaine Branch
Deputy Tabitha Lever
Deputies Bradley Disse and Brandon Rodgers
Representatives Kaiyell Sanders and Randy Boyer
Three hospital workers were also charged. Pictured: Hospital worker Wavie L. Jones
Hospital workers Sadarius D. Williams and Darian M. Blackwell
The family is represented by Ben Crump, a prominent civil rights lawyer who also represented the family of George Floyd.
Crump has said that Otieno’s treatment has close parallels with the 2020 murder of Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
“When we think of the tragic murder of George Floyd, one says: ‘Why would anyone, why would any law enforcement officer, put a knee on the neck of a person who is face down, handcuffed and restrained?'” he said. Crump at a press conference last week.
‘Wouldn’t someone have enough common sense to say, ‘Have we seen this movie before?’
Douglas Ramseur, who represents one of the hospital employees, told The Washington Post, which first obtained the images, that he was concerned that the court filing with the video link was made “with the intent to make the information available from the media and the public after having received a defense motion seeking to prevent such disclosure.’
“We are considering all of our legal resources,” Ramseur wrote in an email, the newspaper reported.
His family, who are from Kenya, described him as a deeply loved and respected young man, an aspiring musician who had been a well-known high school athlete in the area.
During the encounter, prosecutors said Otieno did not appear combative and was sitting in a chair before officers pushed him to the ground. Pictured: Central State Hospital in Dinwiddle County, Virginia
Otieno’s family does not understand why he was taken from prison to the state hospital about 45 minutes away instead of a local mental health center.
Otieno, whose first name was pronounced ‘Ivo’, was 4 years old when his family immigrated to the US from Kenya.
He grew up in suburban Richmond and began dealing with mental health issues during his senior year of high school, his mother said.
He was experiencing mental anguish at the time of his initial encounter with police earlier this month, according to this family.
That set off a chain of events that saw him spend several days in custody, first at a local hospital and then a jail, before his death at the state hospital.
While Otieno was in jail, he was denied access to necessary medication, lawyers for the family said.
The family also viewed video from that facility on Thursday, which they said showed Otieno being subjected to further brutality by unidentified officers. That video has not been made available.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has said the case is a grim reminder of why the state’s mental health system “needs transformation at every level.”
He has also called on the public to respect the ongoing judicial process.