New surveillance video released on Wednesday shows a group of sheriff’s deputies rushing into Irvo Otieno’s jail cell in Henrico County, Va., and physically overpowering him, with one of them appearing to punch down multiple times before the officers carry his limp body out to a transport van.
The video was recorded on the afternoon of March 6, several hours before Henrico County sheriff’s deputies brought Mr. Otieno, 28, into Central State Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Dinwiddie County roughly 50 miles away. In an admissions room there, previously released footage shows a group of seven sheriff’s deputies piling on top of Mr. Otieno and pinning him to the floor for more than 11 minutes. He was asphyxiated in the process, according to the local prosecutor.
Both videos were released by the Dinwiddie County prosecutor, Ann Cabell Baskervill, who has charged 10 people — seven deputies and three hospital employees — with second-degree murder in Mr. Otieno’s death. A grand jury confirmed the charges with indictments on Tuesday.
Mr. Otieno was taken into custody on March 3 by Henrico County police, who were responding to a report of breaking and entering from a neighbor. Mr. Otieno had walked to the neighbor’s lawn and picked up some light fixtures on the property and was banging on the front door before his mother retrieved him.
Mr. Otieno had a long history of struggling with mental illness. His mother, Caroline Ouko, told the police at the time that he was in mental distress. Eventually he was taken to a nearby hospital in an ambulance.
“When they took him to the hospital, I knew he was going to come home,” Ms. Ouko said in an interview on Monday.
But later that day on March 3, the police took Mr. Otieno from the hospital to the Henrico County Jail, where he was held on charges of assaulting a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct and vandalism. He spent the weekend there, as his mother tried to find out where he was and get him his medication. On Monday morning, March 6, a judge ordered Mr. Otieno held without bond.
In the new video, which begins inside the jail a little before 2:30 p.m. that Monday, a group of officers can be seen standing outside a jail cell, as Mr. Otieno slams his hands up against the window. After Mr. Otieno pushes out an item of jail clothing that officers tried to deliver through the food-tray slot, a struggle breaks out. At least five officers appear to grapple with Mr. Otieno through the slot.
After that struggle ends, Mr. Otieno appears to be in distress through the window, covering his face with his hands. An officer opens the door and six quickly rush in, bringing Mr. Otieno to the ground. Though Mr. Otieno is mostly blocked from view at this point, one officer can be seen throwing multiple punches down.
The officers, at times joined by others, appear to crowd over Mr. Otieno on the floor. After 14 minutes, six officers step out into the hallway carrying Mr. Otieno’s apparently limp body.
Another video from March 6 that was released on Wednesday shows the officers carrying Mr. Otieno, whose pants are halfway down his legs, into a carport. They initially set him down behind a white van and then carry his body around to the side of the van before bringing him to its open rear doors. Eight officers lift him up and put him inside. The doors are closed, and the van leaves the carport at 3:09 p.m.
Mr. Otieno was pronounced dead less than three hours later.
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