Video shows Virginia deputies and medical personnel appearing to pile on top of him

    Video capturing some of the last moments in the life of Irvo Otieno — whose death led to murder charges against seven Virginia sheriff’s deputies and three hospital employees — shows officers and medical staff seem to be piling on on top of the 28-year-old black man before he finally stops moving.

    Surveillance video from the March 6 incident at Virginia’s Central State Hospital shows officers dragging Otieno, who appears to be handcuffed and shackled at the ankles, into a recording room, initially moving him to a table before laying him down and laying him on the floor to hold .

    At one point, as many as 10 deputies and medical personnel at the hospital can be seen surrounding the Virginia man on the floor, with several others standing nearby. The scene is so busy that Otieno can barely be seen at the time, and it’s unclear what exactly is going on or how deputies and medical personnel are handling him.

    The Washington Post earlier Tuesday published nine minutes of the video, which was edited from the first 27 minutes of security footage. NBC News later obtained the video, which has no sound.

    The video appears to show Otieno leaning against a chair at first, but at 4:28 p.m. people pile up on him

    At 4:40 p.m. — 12 minutes later — Otieno appears unresponsive, being rolled onto his side and then back, and chest compressions begin at 4:42 p.m., according to the video. A defibrillator device also appears to have been used. A medical technician drapes a white sheet over him at around 5:48 PM

    Murder charges

    A Virginia prosecutor last week charged seven Henrico County sheriff’s deputies and three hospital employees with manslaughter. They were indicted by a grand jury on Tuesday.

    The alternates 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 staff members are Darian Malique Blackwell, Wavie Lavon Jones and Sadarius Devon Williams.

    Irvo Otieno, right, with his mother and brother in an undated photo. Ben Crump Law/AFP – Getty Images

    It’s unclear what was said during the encounter because the video has no audio. Prosecutors have said that state police detectives were told that Otieno had become belligerent during the recording.

    Lawyers for two of the defendants had tried to block the release of the video, arguing it could sway 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 killed. They choked my baby’s breath. They killed my baby,” she said.

    “What we just saw was a commentary on how inhumane law enforcement officers are treating people with mental health crises like criminals, rather than treating them like people in need of help,” civil rights attorney Ben Crump told reporters.

    “You can see that they put their shoulders to the wheel. Every part of his body is pushed down with absolute ferocity,” said Mark Krudys, a lawyer for Otieno’s family.

    Four of the deputies weighed at least 250 pounds each, with the heaviest weighing 320 pounds, according to court documents.

    A lawyer for Levere was not listed online. A lawyer for Williams said in a statement on Tuesday that her client is innocent.

    Williams, 27, from North Dinwiddie, “did not commit second-degree murder, as the Commonwealth claims. There will be no evidence that Mr. Williams acted with malice, or that he in any way intended or caused Mr. Otieno’s death. Mr. Williams had only minimal physical contact with Mr. Otieno and did not use deadly force during the incident. Mr. Williams looks forward to his day in court when he will be able to fully hear the charges against him,” Rhonda Quagliana said in the statement.

    Lawyers listed for the rest of the defendants did not immediately respond to requests for comment overnight.

    Disse’s attorney, Edward K. Nickel, previously said his client looks forward to defending himself.

    Cary Bowen, representing Branch, has said his client has been with the department for 24 years and that “none of them are known to be bullies.”

    ‘Smothered to Death’

    The prosecutor’s office said deputies took Otieno to the hospital at 3:58 p.m. to be admitted. Instead, “he died of suffocation from being choked to death, thanks to the fact that at least seven people, including the defendant, sat on top of him and held him down,” Commonwealth Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill said at a hearing. hearing Wednesday, according to courtroom video broadcast by Richmond NBC affiliate WWBT.

    Otieno had initially been arrested on March 3 after Henrico police officers responded to a possible burglary call, police said.

    Officers placed Otieno under an “emergency custody order,” the department said Virginia law stating that such orders are used in cases of mental illness.

    Officers then took Otieno to Parham Doctors’ Hospital, which housed a crisis shelter and police said Otieno “became physically violent towards officers”. He was taken to a local jail, operated by the Henrico County Sheriff’s Office, where he faced several charges, including three counts of assault on a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct at a hospital, and vandalism.

    Earlier incident ruled as ‘mental health problem’

    Police said officers had 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 neighbour’s behaviour. The neighbor was identified as Otieno, police said. The call was reclassified as a “mental health problem” and no charges were filed, it 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.

    Henrico County Sheriff Alisa Gregory said in a statement the agency 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 has roots in Kenya, has said he was a selfless person who cared about fairness. He was also a hip-hop artist who could write songs in five minutes, his relatives said.

    Leon Ochieng, his brother, described his younger sibling’s death as a “tragic, pointless, inhumane nightmare”.

    “Can someone explain to me why my brother is not here now? Someone explain to me why my mother can’t sleep, can’t eat,’ he said. “We are broken. Our hearts are broken.”


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