Video capturing some of the final moments in the life of Irvo Otieno, whose death led to murder charges against seven Virginia sheriff’s deputies and three hospital workers, shows officers and medical staff appearing to huddle together. on top of the 28-year-old black man before he finally stopped moving.
Surveillance video from the March 6 incident at Central Virginia State Hospital shows officers dragging Otieno, who appears to be handcuffed and shackled by the ankles, into an admitting room, initially moving him onto a table before laying him down and hold it to the ground. .
At one point, up to 10 sheriff’s deputies and medical personnel at the hospital can be seen huddled around the Virginia man on the floor as several others stand nearby. The scene is so crowded that Otieno can barely be seen at the time, and it is unclear what exactly is happening or how the officers and medical workers are relating to him.
the washington post the previous Tuesday he posted nine minutes of the video, which was edited from the first 27 minutes of the security footage. NBC News later obtained the video, which has no sound.
The video appears to show Otieno at first leaning against a chair, but people are piling on him at 4:28 p.m.
At 4:40 p.m., 12 minutes later, Otieno appears unresponsive, he is rolled onto his side, then back, and chest compressions begin at 4:42 p.m., according to the video. It also appears that a defibrillator was used. A medical technician covers him with a white sheet around 5:48 p.m.
A Virginia prosecutor last week charged seven Henrico County sheriff’s deputies and three hospital staff with second-degree murder. They were indicted by a grand jury on Tuesday.
Deputies are Randy Joseph Boyer, Dwayne Alan Bramble, Jermaine Lavar Branch, Bradley Thomas Disse, Tabitha Renee Levere, Brandon Edwards Rodgers, and Kaiyell Dajour Sanders.
Central State Hospital employees are Darian Malique Blackwell, Wavie Lavon Jones, and Sadarius Devon Williams.
It is not clear what was said during the meeting because the video has no audio. Prosecutors have said state police investigators were told Otieno had become combative during the admission.
Lawyers for two of the defendants tried to block the release of the video, arguing that it could influence the pool of potential jurors and interfere with a fair trial.
After Otieno’s family and their lawyers were shown footage of the encounter last week, Caroline Ouko said her son was «treated like a dog, worse than a dog.»
«He was murdered. They suffocated my baby’s breath. They murdered my baby,» she said.
“What we just saw…was a comment about how law enforcement officials inhumanely treat people who are having a mental health crisis like criminals, instead of treating them like people who need help,” civil rights attorney Ben Crump told reporters.
“You can see they’re putting their back on this. Every part of her body is being pushed down with utter brutality.» said Mark Krudys, an attorney for Otieno’s family.
Four of the officers weighed at least 250 pounds each, with the heaviest weighing 320 pounds, according to court documents.
An attorney for Levere was not listed online. An attorney for Williams said in a statement Tuesday that his client is innocent.
Williams, 27, of North Dinwiddie, «did not commit second degree murder, as the Commonwealth alleges. There will be no evidence that Mr. Williams acted with malice, or that he in any way intended or caused the death of Mr. Otieno Mr. «Williams had only minimal physical contact with Mr. Otieno and did not apply any deadly force during the incident. Mr. Williams looks forward to his day in court when he can fully address the charge against him,» Rhonda Quagliana said in the statement.
Doug Ramseur, Jones’ lawyer, asked a judge Tuesday for a gag order, which was denied.
“I think everyone wants to make sure that this case is tried fairly for all parties,” Ramseur told reporters on Tuesday.
Attorneys listed for the rest of the defendants did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Disse’s attorney, Edward K. Nickel, previously said his client was eager to defend himself.
Branch’s attorney, Cary Bowen, previously said Branch has been with the department for 24 years and «none of them are known to be stalkers.»
‘Suffocated to death’
The prosecutor’s office said officers had taken Otieno to the hospital at 3:58 pm for admission. Instead, he “died of suffocation due to being suffocated to death, thanks to at least seven people, including the defendant, being on top of him and holding him down,” Commonwealth lawyer Ann Cabell Baskervill said in a court hearing on Wednesday, according to courtroom video broadcast by Richmond’s NBC WWBT affiliate.
Otieno had initially been arrested on March 3 after Henrico police officers responded to a possible burglary call, the police department said.
Officers placed Otieno under an «emergency custody order,» the department said, with virginia law stating that such orders are used in cases of mental illness.
The officers then took Otieno to Parham Physicians Hospital, where a crisis reception center was located and the police department said Otieno «became physically aggressive towards the officers.» He was taken to a local jail, run by the Henrico County Sheriff’s Office, where he received various charges, including three counts of assault on a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct at a hospital and vandalism.
Previous incident qualified as a ‘mental health problem’
The police department said officers also responded to another incident the day before, on March 2, for a «reported suspicious situation» in which the complainant said he was concerned about his neighbor’s behavior. The neighbor was identified as Otieno, police said. The call was reclassified as a «mental health issue» and no charges were filed, he said.
State police were called to investigate Otieno’s death around 7:30 p.m. on March 6, days after the initial arrest.
The Henrico County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Alisa Gregory, Henrico County Sheriff said in a statement the office was “fully cooperating with the Virginia State Police investigation.”
“Separately, we are conducting our own independent review of this incident,” the statement said.
Otieno’s family, who have roots in Kenya, have said that he was a selfless person who cared about justice. He was also a hip-hop artist who could write songs in five minutes, his relatives said.
Leon Ochieng, his brother, described his younger brother’s death as a “senseless, inhumane and tragic nightmare”.
“Can someone explain to me why my brother is not here now? Someone explain to me why my mother can’t sleep, she can’t eat,” she said. «We are devastated. Our hearts are broken.»