Surveillance footage from the Virginia psychiatric hospital where 28-year-old Irvo Otieno died on March 6 shows a group of sheriff deputies and medical staff piling on top of a handcuffed Otieno in the final moments before his death. According to Otieno’s family, Otieno had been experiencing a mental health crisis.
Seven deputies and three hospital employees have been charged with second-degree murder.
The Washington Post, which on Monday obtained a shortened version of the 23-minute video from Central State Hospital, reported that deputies dragged a barefoot and shirtless Otieno into a room before restraining him to the ground for 11 minutes. Moments later in the video, staff is seen applying chest compressions and a defibrillator machine to Otieno’s upper body before a medical technician drapes him with a white sheet.
In 911 calls, a caller is heard telling the dispatcher that they had been performing CPR on a “very aggressive” patient.
“I’m sorry, is the patient aggressive or is he not breathing?” asked the dispatcher.
“He used to be aggressive, right, so they’re trying to put him in a restraint, then eventually he is no longer breathing,” the caller responded.
As I previously wrote, Otieno had spent three days in Henrico County Jail West on assault charges before arriving at Central State Hospital. The conditions inside the jail were reportedly dire:
Prosecutor Ann Baskervill said on Tuesday that video from the county jail shows three officers pepper-spraying and punching Otieno in his cell. Jail security footage also reportedly shows a naked Otieno, alone, in a small, bare cell with feces on the floor before being handcuffed and rushed by five officers.
“My son was treated like a dog, worse than a dog,” said Caroline Ouko, Otieno’s mother, said during a press conference alongside the family’s attorney last week.