Family of Irvo Otieno, Virginia man who died in custody, views surveillance video:
The mother of Irvo Otieno, a man who Died during custody. At a government psychiatric hospital, he spoke of his son’s “inhumane death” at a news conference Thursday after watching surveillance video of the incident. The conference was held on the same day it was announced that three hospital employees had been arrested in connection with Otieno’s death.
Otieno, 28, was being transported by Henrico County Sheriff’s Office deputies from the Henrico County Jail to a psychiatric facility on March 6 when, investigators were told, he became combative during the check-in process. Otieno was restrained and died during the intake process, Virginia State Police officers were initially told when they arrived to investigate Otieno’s death.
But the surveillance video tells a different story, her family said Thursday after viewing the video with attorneys Benjamin Crump and Mark Croods. “My son was tortured,” said Otieno’s mother, Caroline Oko, adding that deputies were on top of Otieno until “he took his last breath.”
Otieno struggled with mental health issues, but had a big heart and was a “very good listener,” his family said.
“Arvo is as American as apple pie,” said his mother, who shared the family’s journey from Kenya to the United States when Otieno was four. He attended Freeman High School and then attended college in California, and was an aspiring hip-hop artist, his family said.
Oku said mental illness should not be your death ticket.
The video, which has not been released publicly, is a central piece of evidence in the case that has seen the arrests of 10 people in connection with Otieno’s death.
“A key element of this evidence is Central State Hospital’s surveillance video that captures the intake process,” Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill said in a statement Thursday.
Baskerville also announced that three Central State Hospital employees were arrested Thursday and face charges of second-degree murder. Darren M. Blackwell, 23, of Petersburg, Vivi L. Jones, 34, of Chesterfield, and Sidarius D. Williams, 27, of North Dinwiddie, are being held without bond at the Mehren River Regional Jail in Brunswick County, jail records show. .
Seven Henrico County deputies Arrested on charges of second degree murder. Tuesday, court records showed.
A preliminary report by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) points to asphyxiation as the cause of death, the statement said. A Danwiddie County grand jury will meet next week to finalize charges, the statement said.