Last week, we reported that hospital employees and seven sheriff’s deputies in Dinwiddie, Virginia, are facing second-degree murder charges after they were all allegedly caught on video smothering 28-year-old Black man Irvo Otieno to death after he had been taken into custody over what his family described as a mental health episode. Otieno’s family and their attorneys, which include civil attorney Ben Crump, reportedly viewed video footage of the incident, during which Otieno’s mother, Caroline Ouko, said her “son was treated like a dog—worse than a dog.”
At the time, Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill said that “additional charges and arrests are pending,” but she declined to release the video to the public in order to “maintain the integrity of the criminal justice process at this point.” But on Tuesday, the Washington Post obtained and published nine minutes of surveillance video, which shows as many as 10 deputies and hospital staffers at Virginia’s Central State Hospital piling on top of Irvo Otieno for approximately 11 minutes while he was shackled and until he had completely stopped moving.
From the Post:
But after Otieno, who is in handcuffs and leg irons, appears to make a movement shortly before 4:28 p.m., more deputies and hospital staff bear down on him. At least eight people pile on top of Otieno, some holding down his legs, while others restrain his upper body.
At 4:31 p.m., the group seems to lose its grip on Otieno for a moment, and they roll him around on the ground. Nine or 10 people are holding down Otieno. Hospital staff are in the room watching or helping to restrain him.
Deputies and staff ease their hold on Otieno and roll him onto his side moments before 4:40 p.m. Otieno is shirtless and appears not to be moving. One minute later, a medical worker lowers the top of Otieno’s pants and administers an injection. He is still immobile. Resuscitation efforts, including chest compressions and defibrillator charges, take up less than one hour on the video.
Deputies and staff ease their hold on Otieno and roll him onto his side moments before 4:40 p.m. Irvo Otieno is shirtless and appears not to be moving. One minute later, a medical worker lowers the top of Otieno’s pants and administers an injection. He is still immobile. Resuscitation efforts, including chest compressions and defibrillator charges, take up less than one hour on the video.
Mark Krudys, one of the family attorneys, noted that “those resuscitation efforts were very slow in the beginning,” and he said Oteno’s mother wants the video released to the public in full because she “feels very strongly that the public should see what happened to her son.”
For what it’s worth, Baskervill said Monday that she too believes the public should see the video and that any potential juror bias will be filtered out during the jury selection process.
“There is no agenda here other than transparency,” she said.
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