Video shows police piling on Irvo Otieno before his death in custody

Surveillance video captured at a Virginia hospital shows patient Irvo Otieno pinned to the ground by multiple deputy sheriffs and hospital staff.

Mr Otieno, a 28-year old black man, died in custody on 6 March while he was being transferred from a jail to the mental facility.

Seven deputy sheriffs and three medical staff have been charged with second-degree murder over his death.

A grand jury on Tuesday indicted the 10 people charged in the case.

The prosecutor in the case, Ann Cabell Baskervill, said she planned to release a video of the incident to the public on Tuesday. Numerous media outlets have gained access to it earlier after it was included in a public court filing.

Video of the incident was caught on surveillance cameras at Central State Hospital in Petersburg, Virginia.

A portion of it has been published by the Washington Post. The clip, which has no sound, shows Mr Otieno, who emigrated to the United States from Kenya when he was four, being dragged into a hospital admissions room in handcuffs and leg irons by several deputy sheriffs, with medical staff following behind.

It then shows the sheriffs pinning Mr Otieno down while medical staff watch, before some move to assist the deputies. At least eight people are seen piling on top of Mr Otieno at one point, some holding down his legs, while others hold his upper body.

Later in the video, as many as 10 deputy sheriffs and medical staff are seen holding down a shirtless Mr Otieno – who is still in handcuffs and leg irons – on the floor.

The video shows he was held down for 11 minutes.

The deputies and medical staff then pull back as Mr Otieno lies motionless. Medical staff in the room are then seen administering emergency aid.

An audio of the 911 call placed by hospital staff as others attempt to resuscitate Mr Otieno has also been released.

In it, a hospital staff member can be heard saying that Mr Otieno was being given CPR, and that he is “very aggressive”.

The dispatcher then asks for a clarification: “I’m sorry, is the patient aggressive or is he not breathing?”

“He used to be aggressive, right, so they’re trying to put him in a restraint then eventually he is no longer breathing,” the hospital staff member says.

Prosecutors have said a preliminary autopsy indicated that Mr Otieno died from asphyxia.

Mr Otieno was initially arrested on 3 March as the suspect in a possible burglary, a police news release said.

He was placed under an emergency custody order, used when it is believed that a person could harm themselves or others as a result of mental illness.

Mr Otieno’s family, including his mother Caroline Ouko, viewed the video last week. Ms Ouko said it was “traumatic and disturbing” to witness, and shows her son being “tortured”.

“My son was treated like a dog, worse than a dog,” Ms Ouko said. She added her son was experiencing a mental health crisis at the time of his death.

His family has supported the public release of the video but lawyers for the deputies and medical staff facing charges in relation to the incident have pushed back, arguing it could hinder a fair trial.

The seven deputies have been placed on administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing. Two have been released on bond, while the others remain in custody.

The three hospital workers were transported to jail, prosecutors said, where they are being held without bond.

Prosecutors said they are considering laying additional charges in relation to Mr Otieno’s death.


SOurce: BBC


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.