DINWIDDIE, Va. — A grand jury on Tuesday formally indicted 10 people charged in the death of Irvo Otieno, a 28-year-old who died March 6 after video showed deputies and hospital workers piling on top of him as he was being admitted to a state-run psychiatric facility, according to multiple reports.
The grand jury indicted seven Henrico County sheriff’s deputies and three Central State Hospital employees on second-degree murder charges after viewing security camera footage that showed the incident, WRIC-TV reported. Prosecutors said Otieno was handcuffed and wearing leg shackles when authorities pinned him to the ground for about 12 minutes, smothering him to death.
At the time of his death, deputies were transferring Otieno from Henrico County Jail to Central State Hospital. He had been arrested days earlier after Henrico police said he became combative while being evaluated at a hospital under an emergency custody order.
Security camera videos released Tuesday and obtained by WTVR-TV showed deputies bringing Otieno into the admissions room at Central State Hospital around 4:20 p.m. on March 6 and sitting him on the floor. A few minutes later, deputies move Otieno onto his side. At one point, he appears to struggle. Deputies and hospital workers then pin him to the ground and hold him there until after he stops moving.
Family members who viewed the video with their attorneys last week said Otieno needed help dealing with a mental health issue and called the incident traumatic and disturbing. His mother, Caroline Otieno, described what she saw in the video as “torture.”
“Mental illness should not be your ticket to death,” she said. “There was a chance to rescue him, there was a chance to stop what was going on, and I don’t understand how all systems failed him. I don’t understand why one single system could not hold up and say, ‘Stop, we stop here.’ My son was treated like a dog — worse than a dog. I saw it with my own eyes on the video.”
This is Irvo Otieno. A 28-yo aspiring musician deeply loved by his parents, who emigrated from Kenya when he was 4. On March 6, he was handcuffed and brutally smothered to death for 12 mins. by 7 Henrico County (VA) Sheriff’s deputies at a state mental health facility. pic.twitter.com/biyd8Mewph— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) March 16, 2023
Prosecutors earlier identified the seven deputies arrested as Randy Joseph Boyer, 57; Dwayne Alan Bramble, 37; Jermaine Lavar Branch, 45; Bradley Thomas Disse, 43; Tabitha Renee Levere, 50; Brandon Edwards Rodgers, 48; and Kaiyell Dajour Sanders, 30, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
The hospital employees charged are Darian M. Blackwell, 23; Wavie L. Jones, 34; and Sadarius D. Williams, 27; according to the newspaper.
©2023 Cox Media Group