In the killing of prisoner Irvo Otieno, seven sheriff’s officers from Henrico County, Virginia, has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder. Otieno died earlier this month in police custody.
What Exactly is Irvo Otieno?
Irvo Otieno, 28, of Henrico County, Va., appears to have died from asphyxiation, or a lack of oxygen, on March 6 at Central State Hospital in Dinwiddie County, according to his family’s lawyer, Mark Krudys. Mr Otieno’s family claims he was denied treatment for his mental condition while incarcerated.
What Became of Him?
According to a statement made by the Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill, Irvo Otieno passed away on March 6 at a state mental health hospital while being moved from a Henrico County prison. Baskervill said that Otieno was in handcuffs and leg shackles and had been on the ground for 12 minutes by all seven cops. “They choked him to death,” she said. “He died of asphyxia after being suffocated.” She said the assault was caught on an “obvious, quite disturbing” video. The 12-minute video depicts “deliberate and harsh torture,” she says. CNN got recordings of all seven deputies’ court sessions from the Dinwiddie Circuit Court Clerk.
Seven Deputy Sheriffs have been Charged with Murder:
A Black man with a history of health disorder died after officers choked him as he lay motionless in handcuffs and leg shackles at a hospital, according to the family’s solicitor and a county prosecutor on Wednesday. Sheriff Alisa Gregory of Henrico County stated that the seven cops from the Henrico County Sheriff’s Office had been “placed on administrative leave” until the matter was resolved.
“At their heart, the events of March 6 reflect a tragedy since Mr. Otieno’s life was lost,” Sheriff Gregory said, adding that her agency was helping with the Virginia State Police investigation.
The Following Footage and Murder Scene have been Obscured:
According to CBS 6 News, the Dinwiddie County prosecutor, Ann Cabell Baskervill, said in court on Wednesday that Mr Otieno drowned due to the weight of the seven cops suffocating him. “He was not aggressive and confrontational,” Ms Baskervill said of Mr Otieno. “All seven suspects accused here pinned him down on the ground for 12 minutes.” On Wednesday, she did not immediately reply to emails or phone calls requesting comment. The deputies engaged were Kaiyell Dajour Sanders, 30, of North Chesterfield. Dwayne Alan Bramble, 37, of Sandston. Jermaine Lavar Branch, 45, of Henrico. Bradley Thomas Disse, 43, of Henrico, Tabitha Renee Levere, 50, of Henrico, and Brandon Edwards Rodgers, 48, of Henrico.
Statements by the Prosecutor:
On Wednesday, Cary Bowen, Mr Branch’s attorney, told reporters outside the Dinwiddie County courtroom that the prosecution “has taken a robust approach here, and it’s infrequent to go about things the way it’s been done,” according to reports.
Mr Bowen said in court that the deputies had fought to detain Mr Otieno, whom he characterised as “physically extremely powerful” and having a history of mental health issues. The local police union, Henrico Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 4, said on Facebook that although Mr Otieno’s death was unfortunate, “we also stand behind the seven accused deputies.” The organisation also stressed that the Virginia State Police investigation was incomplete and that the medical examiner had not yet announced a cause of death as of Wednesday.
Interaction Among Police Departments and a Mentally ill Person:
The event is the most recent in a string of run-ins between law officers and people who are mentally ill that have ended in violence or death.
According to a Washington Post database that analyses police shootings in the United States, 21% of those murdered by law enforcement in the United States since 2015 had a recognised mental disorder. Mr Otieno’s killing occurred at a time when law enforcement agencies around the nation are under increased scrutiny for lethal arrests. Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man pulled over in a traffic check earlier this year, was assaulted for three minutes by Memphis police officers on the evening of 7 th Jan, and died three days later.
Mr Otieno was a well-known athlete growing up in Henrico, according to Mr Krudys, before developing mental health issues as an adult. Mr Krudys refused to provide further information on Mr Otieno’s mental health.