On Thursday, 3 Virginia hospital workers were charged with murder in the death of Irvo Otieno, who died in a state mental health facility last week. Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill says a preliminary report from the office of the chief medical examiner confirms that asphyxiation was the cause of Otieno’s death.
Video from Central State Hospital: Deputies “pushed every part of his body down with absolute brutality” and prosecutors said one officer’s knee was placed on his neck for 12 minutes shortly after Otieno was admitted to the state hospital.
A lawyer representing Otieno’s family says the video and other evidence shows that authorities tortured him while transferring him from jail to the state mental hospital. They say the videos show Otieno being shackled, handcuffed and pinned to the ground by the weight of seven individuals on his body.
The case came to light after the family’s attorneys and the mother of Otieno viewed security footage from the Henrico County Jail. They said the video showed Otieno being taken out of a small cell, where there was feces on the floor, and then being handcuffed by five deputies and carried by his arms and legs before being transferred to the hospital, according to WRIC-TV.
Otieno’s mother, Carolina Ouko, said she believed her son was treated worse than a dog. Her son had a big heart, a strong sense of equality and a love of hip-hop music. She called for accountability and for dedicated mental health response teams to handle cases like this.