What To Know About Irvo Otieno, Whose Death At A Mental Well being Facility Sparked ten Murder Charges

Updated Mar 17, 2023, 02:49pm EDT


Prosecutors say Black musician Irvo Otieno was smothered to death on March six in Henrico, Virginia, by police officers who treated him brutally when transferring him from a county jail to a mental well being facility, an incident a lawyer representing the Otieno family members compared to the 2020 police killing of George Floyd.

officers pinned him to the ground and smothered him, prosecutors say. (Courtesy of Ben Crump Law by way of AP)Connected Press

Important Details

The County Commonwealth’s Lawyer Ann Cabell Baskervill stated an “extremely clear” and “extremely alarming” video shows deputies restraining Irvo Otieno, a 28-year-old Black musician, by placing their physique weight on him and a single officer’s knee on his neck for 12 minutes shortly right after admitting him to Central State Hospital in Dinwiddie County.

Ten people—seven Henrico County sheriff’s deputies and 3 personnel at Central State Hospital—have been charged with second-degree murder.

Attorneys for the Otieno family members stated officers “force rushed” Otieno, who was handcuffed, naked and surrounded by feces in his jail cell, against a metal bed and a challenging wall, prior to transferring him to the mental facility exactly where seven deputies, 4 of whom weighed at least 250 pounds, pushed down on “every portion of [Otieno’s] physique.”

Otieno’s family members and attorneys stated Otieno did not resist or pose a threat to the officers and appeared to be “in involving lifelessness and unconsciousness” in the video, which will not be released to the public.

The Workplace of Chief Health-related Examiner identified Otieno’s lead to of death as asphyxiation in a preliminary report.

The Henrico Fraternal Order of Police Lodge four, the regional police union, stated in a statement Otieno’s death was tragic, but defended the officers, saying police function is “difficult” simply because of the “possibility of getting criminally charged when performing their duty.”

Caleb Kershner, an lawyer representing a single of the deputies, referred to as the second-degree murder charge an “extreme measure.”

Important Background

Otieno was taken into custody on March three by Henrico County police responding to a report of a attainable burglary. A neighbor referred to as police more than issues of Otieno gathering lawn lights from a neighbor’s yard, which Mark Krudys, an lawyer for the Otieno family members, stated was portion of a mental well being crisis. Otieno’s mother attempted to de-escalate the police officers that responded to the incident, Krudys stated. Officers took Otieno to a hospital for evaluation, exactly where authorities say he assaulted 3 officers, who then took him to a regional jail and charged him with assault on a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct in a hospital and vandalism. Attorneys for Otieno’s family members stated in the course of his 3-day keep in jail, prior to getting taken to the mental well being facility, Otieno was pepper sprayed and denied the mental well being medication he required.


Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump compared the incident to the killing of George Floyd in May well 2020, as each Floyd and Otieno had been forcibly held to the ground by officers. Crump has offered legal solutions to the households of unarmed Black victims of police violence, like Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

What To Watch For

The ten persons charged with second-degree murder will seem prior to a Virginia grand jury on Tuesday. Baskerville also stated added charges and arrests are pending.

Critical Quote

“It is definitely shocking that almost 3 years right after the brutal killing of George Floyd by police, one more family members is grieving a loved a single who allegedly died in the precise very same manner,” Crump stated.

Additional Reading

ten persons connected to the death of a 28-year-old Black man at a mental well being facility face murder charges. Here’s what we know (CNN)

Video shows deputies smother Va. man for 11 minutes prior to death, family members says (The Washington Post)

Video of Virginia man who died at hospital shows ‘absolute brutality’ by deputies, family members says (NBC News)

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I am an explainers and trends reporter for Forbes. I previously worked on Forbes’s wealth group exactly where I covered billionaires. I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in May well and spent that summer time operating on Forbes’s Major Colleges list. Prior to that, I served as a news editor for Penn’s student newspaper, The Every day Pennsylvanian, as nicely as a digital intern for NBC News and a foreign desk intern for Vox.

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