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Disturbing video has shown Virginia sheriff’s deputies piling on top of a shackled black man for 11 minutes in a mental hospital until he stops moving.
Seven cops and three hospital workers were indicted today by a grand jury for second-degree murder following the death of Irvo Otieno in police custody on March 6.
The charges came as new footage revealed the 28-year-old’s harrowing demise after he was taken in handcuffs and leg irons from Henrico County jail near Richmond, Virginia, to Central State Hospital in nearby Petersburg.
The surveillance video, which has no sound, shows ten deputies and medical staff hauling him into the hospital admissions room. They place him on the floor and then hold him down, the purpose unclear, with one officer laying on him and another apparently pressing his knee to Otieno’s head or neck, while up to 10 hospital workers watch, some of them occasionally helping out.
Eventually he goes limp and efforts by police and hospital workers to resuscitate him proved fruitless.
The surveillance video, which has no sound, shows ten deputies and medical staff hauling Otieno into the hospital admissions room
They place him on the floor and then hold him down, the purpose unclear, with one officer laying on him and another apparently pressing his knee to Otieno’s head or neck, while up to 10 hospital workers watch, some of them occasionally helping out
Otieno is seen being hauled into the hospital admissions room with cuffs and leg restraints on
Irvo Otieno, 28, was seen in security camera footage on March 6 being handcuffed by the deputies who pushed down ‘every part of his body’ with ‘absolute brutality,’ an attorney for his family said
A Dinwiddie County grand jury today indicted seven deputies and three hospital staff, most of whom are black.
The 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 hospitals workers are Darian M. Blackwell, 23, Wavie L. Jones, 34, and Sadarius D. Williams, 27.
Otieno was taken by police into custody three days earlier after experiencing a mental health crisis.
Held 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 asphyxiation while being ‘physically restrained,’ Dinwiddie County District Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill said in a statement.
Last week his mother Caroline Ouko said he was ‘going through mental illness.’
‘My son was treated like a dog, worse than a dog. I saw it with my own eyes… they smothered my baby,’ she said.
A Dinwiddie County grand jury today indicted seven deputies and three hospital staff, most of whom are black. Pictured: Dwayne Bramble and Jermaine Branch
Deputy Tabitha Levere
Deputies Bradley Disse and Brandon Rodgers
Deputies Kaiyell Sanders and Randy Boyer
Three hospital workers were also indicted. Pictured: Hospital worker Wavie L. Jones
Hospital workers Sadarius D. Williams and Darian M. Blackwell
The family is being represented by Ben Crump, a prominent civil rights attorney who also represented the family of George Floyd.
Crump has said Otieno’s treatment has close parallels with Floyd’s killing in police custody in Minneapolis in 2020.
‘When we think about the tragic killing of George Floyd, you say, “Why would anybody, why would any law enforcement officer, put a knee on the neck of a person who is face down, handcuffed and restrained?”‘ Crump said at a news conference last week.
‘Would anybody not have enough common sense to say, `We’ve seen this movie before?´’
Douglas Ramseur, who represents one of the hospital employees, told The Washington Post – which first obtained the footage – he was concerned that the court filing with the video link was made ‘with the intention of making the information available to the media and public after having received a motion by the defense seeking to prevent just such a disclosure.’
‘We are considering all our legal remedies,’ Ramseur wrote in an email, the newspaper reported.
His family, who is from Kenya, described him as a deeply loved and well-regarded 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 being pulled to the floor by the officers. Pictured: Central State Hospital in Dinwiddle County, Virginia
Otieno’s family does not understand why he was taken from the jail to the state hospital about 45 minutes away rather than to a local mental health facility
Otieno, whose first name was pronounced ‘Ivo,’ was 4 when his family emigrated to the U.S. from Kenya.
He grew up in suburban Richmond and began dealing with mental health issues during his last year of high school, his mother has said.
He was experiencing mental distress at the time of his initial encounter with law enforcement earlier this month, according to this family.
That set off a chain of events that led to him spending several days in custody, first at a local hospital and then at a jail, before his death at the state hospital.
While Otieno was in jail, he was denied access to needed medications, the family´s attorneys have said.
The family also viewed video from that facility Thursday, which they said showed Otieno was 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.
Source: DailyMail UK