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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 family members 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 by way of AP)Connected 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 one particular officer’s knee on his neck for 12 minutes shortly following admitting him to Central State Hospital in Dinwiddie County.

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

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

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

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

The Henrico Fraternal Order of Police Lodge four, the nearby police union, mentioned in a statement Otieno’s death was tragic, but defended the officers, saying police perform is “difficult” since of the “possibility of getting criminally charged although performing their duty.”

Caleb Kershner, an lawyer representing one particular 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 family members, mentioned was aspect 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 nearby jail and charged him with assault on a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct in a hospital and vandalism. Attorneys for Otieno’s family members mentioned throughout his 3-day remain in jail, prior to getting taken to the mental wellness facility, Otieno was pepper sprayed and denied the mental wellness medication he necessary.


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

What To Watch For

The ten people today charged with second-degree murder will seem prior to a Virginia grand jury on Tuesday. Baskerville also mentioned extra charges and arrests are pending.

Essential Quote

“It is genuinely shocking that practically 3 years following the brutal killing of George Floyd by police, a further family members is grieving a loved one particular who allegedly died in the precise identical manner,” Crump mentioned.

Additional Reading

ten people today 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 prior to death, family members says (The Washington Post)

Video of Virginia man who died at hospital shows ‘absolute brutality’ by deputies, family members 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 May perhaps and spent that summer time operating on Forbes’s Best Colleges list. Prior to that, I served as a news editor for Penn’s student newspaper, The Everyday Pennsylvanian, as properly as a digital intern for NBC News and a foreign desk intern for Vox.

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