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Video: Mental Health Patient Smothered to Death

Irvo Otieno was held down by a group of Henrico County deputies for over 10 minutes.

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Image for article titled Video: Mental Health Patient Smothered to Death
Screenshot : Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office via WashPo ( Fair Use )

The video footage of the moments leading up to Irvo Otieno’s death has been released by the prosecutor’s office . The 28-year-old was seen bound by his legs and arms being pushed into the ground by at least seven sheriff’s deputies .

The footage obtained ahead of public release by The Washington Post shows Otieno arriving at the hospital on March 6. The surveillance cameras capture him arriving at Central State Hospital around 4 p.m. He’s brought inside shackled by leg irons and handcuff s while five officers drag him into the admissions area. They then forced him onto the ground and an additional two officers held down his legs while he sat. At some point, attorney Mark Krudys said one deputy appeared to be laughing. Otieno appears to continue moving, though not aggressively, leading all the officers and some hospital staff to join in restraining him on the ground.

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From 4:31 p.m. to 4:40 p.m. there were nine to 10 people piled on top of Otieno, pushing him into the ground. After the crowd rose from his body, Otieno appeared limp and still.

Read more about the footage from The Washington Post:

One minute later, a medical worker lowers the top of Otieno’s pants and administers an injection. He is still immobile. Resuscitation efforts, including chest compressions and defibrillator charges, take up less than one hour on the video.

The first call seems to come in at around 4:40 p.m. The dispatcher appears to have trouble hearing or understanding a woman who calls from the hospital to say that they have a patient who is no longer breathing.

“We have an emergency in building 39,” the woman at the hospital says. “We have a newly admitted [patient] but he is no longer breathing. … The patient is a new admission and then he’s very aggressive. So they’re doing a CPR now. There’s no pulse anymore.”

The dispatcher responds: “I’m sorry, is the patient aggressive or is he not breathing?”

“He used to be aggressive, right,” the woman at the hospital says.

Why Was Irvo Otieno Arrested?

Otieno was experiencing a mental crisis when his mother, Caroline Ouka, called a psychiatrist for help. She gave specific instructions to inform the police of the nature of the call. However, reports say the deputies who arrived in the neighborhood profiled Otieno as a burglary suspect.

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As a result, seven sheriff’s deputies involved in the incident were charged with second-degree murder as well as three hospital staff members.

Krudys and attorney Benjamin Crump said they viewed surveillance footage from the Henrico County jail in addition to the hospital footage. Otieno was held there for three days before being transferred to the hospital. It’s unclear if those videos will also be released publicly but the attorneys described inhumane, heinous abuse being inflicted on Otieno.

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“He needed mental health help, he needed help from physicians - not the brutality of correctional officers,” Krudys previously said in a press conference.