Surveillance video has captured the circumstances that ended the life of Irvo Otieno.
Footage shows several officers and staff at a Virginia psychiatric hospital bringing him into a room. Then, it appears that Otieno is pinned to the ground while in custody until he stops moving. He was reportedly restrained for 11 minutes, reports The Washington Post.
The video has no sound but shows that the restraining stopped at around 4:40 p.m. March 6, before deputies started doing chest compressions. When that didn’t work, they used a defibrillator. And when it was clear that he couldn’t be revived, a medical technician draped a white sheet over his body more than an hour later.
Prosecutors say police were “smothering him to death” after he appeared non-combative. Still, police say he was “physically assaultive” with officers after he was taken to the hospital for a mental health crisis. Police originally booked him while investigating a burglary in progress.
Last week a Virginia prosecutor charged the seven sheriffs and three hospital employees with second-degree murder.
The deputies are Randy Joseph Boyer, Dwayne Alan Bramble, Jermaine Lavar Branch, Bradley Thomas Disse, Tabitha Renee Levere, Brandon Edwards Rodgers and Kaiyell Dajour Sanders. The Central State Hospital employees are Darian Malique Blackwell, Wavie Lavon Jones and Sadarius Devon Williams.
Otieno’s family was shown the footage last week and spoke on the unfair treatment Irvo received at the hands of law enforcement officers.
“My son was treated like a dog, worse than a dog,” Caroline Ouko, Otieno’s mother, said Thursday during a press conference. “He was murdered. They smothered the breath out of my baby. They murdered my baby.”
Otieno being subdued for such a long time is reminiscent of George Floyd’s murder, where Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
“It is truly shocking that nearly three years after the brutal killing of George Floyd by police, another family is grieving a loved one who allegedly died in nearly the exact same manner — being pinned down by police for 12 agonizing minutes,” attorney Ben Crump said in a statement.
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