AP – Video from a state mental hospital shows a Black Virginia man who was handcuffed and shackled being pinned to the ground by deputies who are now facing second-degree murder charges in his death, according to relatives of the man and their attorneys who viewed the footage on Thursday.
Speaking at a news conference shortly after watching the video with a local prosecutor, the family and attorneys condemned the brutal treatment they said Irvo Otieno, 28, was subjected to, first at a local jail and then at the state hospital where authorities said he died on March 6 during the admission process.
They called on the United States (US) Department of Justice to intervene in the case, saying Otieno’s constitutional rights were clearly violated.
“What I saw today was heartbreaking, America. It was disturbing. It was traumatic. My son was tortured,” said Otieno’s mother, Caroline Ouko.
Otieno’s case marks the latest example of a Black man’s in-custody death that has law enforcement under scrutiny. It follows the the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee, earlier this year and comes nearly three years after the killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
Ten people so far have been charged with second-degree murder in Otieno’s death. The seven Henrico County Sheriff’s deputies were charged on Tuesday and additional charges were announced on Thursday against three people who were employed by the hospital.