March 29, 2023 10:14 pm

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 although transferring him from a county jail to a mental wellness facility, an incident a lawyer representing the Otieno loved ones 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 through AP)Related Press

Essential Details

The County Commonwealth’s Lawyer Ann Cabell Baskervill mentioned 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 1 officer’s knee on his neck for 12 minutes shortly soon after admitting him to Central State Hospital in Dinwiddie County.

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

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

Otieno’s loved ones and attorneys mentioned Otieno did not resist or pose a threat to the officers and appeared to be “in in between lifelessness and unconsciousness” in the video, which will not be released to the public.

The Workplace of Chief Healthcare Examiner identified Otieno’s trigger of death as asphyxiation in a preliminary report.

The Henrico Fraternal Order of Police Lodge four, the neighborhood police union, mentioned in a statement Otieno’s death was tragic, but defended the officers, saying police operate is “difficult” for the reason that of the “possibility of becoming criminally charged although performing their duty.”

Caleb Kershner, an lawyer representing 1 of the deputies, known as the second-degree murder charge an “extreme measure.”

Essential Background

Otieno was taken into custody on March three by Henrico County police responding to a report of a doable burglary. A neighbor known as police more than issues of Otieno gathering lawn lights from a neighbor’s yard, which Mark Krudys, an lawyer for the Otieno loved ones, mentioned was element of a mental wellness crisis. Otieno’s mother attempted to de-escalate the police officers that responded to the incident, Krudys mentioned. Officers took Otieno to a hospital for evaluation, exactly where authorities say he assaulted 3 officers, who then took him to a neighborhood jail and charged him with assault on a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct in a hospital and vandalism. Attorneys for Otieno’s loved ones mentioned throughout his 3-day keep in jail, just before becoming taken to the mental wellness facility, Otieno was pepper sprayed and denied the mental wellness medication he required.


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

What To Watch For

The ten men and women charged with second-degree murder will seem just before a Virginia grand jury on Tuesday. Baskerville also mentioned added charges and arrests are pending.

Critical Quote

“It is definitely shocking that almost 3 years soon after the brutal killing of George Floyd by police, yet another loved ones is grieving a loved 1 who allegedly died in the precise similar manner,” Crump mentioned.

Additional Reading

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

Video shows deputies smother Va. man for 11 minutes just before death, loved ones says (The Washington Post)

Video of Virginia man who died at hospital shows ‘absolute brutality’ by deputies, loved ones 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 Might and spent that summer season functioning on Forbes’s Leading Colleges list. Ahead of that, I served as a news editor for Penn’s student newspaper, The Day-to-day Pennsylvanian, as properly as a digital intern for NBC News and a foreign desk intern for Vox.

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