DINWIDDIE, Va. (AP) — Prosecutors plan next week to release the video that led Virginia authorities to charge seven deputies and three state psychiatric hospital employees with second-degree murder in the death of a man handcuffed and chained.
Irvo Otieno’s family saw video of his death on Thursday. With their blessing, the footage will be released to the public in the next few days, Dinwiddie County Commonwealth attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The family’s lawyers described the video to reporters as 12 agonizing minutes of deputies shoving and choking Otineo, a black man whose arms and legs were restrained.
“You can see they have their backs on us. Every part of his body is thrust down with absolute brutality,” said family attorney Mark Krudys.
Prosecutors said Otieno, 28, did not appear to be combative and was sitting in a chair when he was pulled down by officers.
The 12-minute video also showed a lack of urgency to help Otieno after deputies determined “he was lifeless and not breathing,” Krudys said.
So far ten people have been charged with second-degree murder in Otieno’s death: seven Henrico County sheriff’s deputies and three hospital employees.
The lawyers of those arrested have not yet seen the video.
“They show the video to the plaintiffs’ lawyers. But we represent these people accused of murder who are locked up. It’s really disappointing. It seems to be more important to curry favor with the public, to try the case in the media, instead of letting the criminal justice process work the way it should work,” defense attorney Peter Baruch told the Richmond newspaper.
Otieno’s case marks the latest example of a black man’s death in custody that has law enforcement under control. It follows the fatal beating of Tire Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee earlier this year and comes nearly three years after George Floyd was killed in police custody in Minneapolis.
Otieno, who was a child when his family emigrated from Kenya and grew up in suburban Richmond, had a history of mental health issues and was experiencing mental distress at the time of his first encounter with law enforcement at the time. earlier this month, his family and their attorneys said.
This set off a chain of events that resulted in him spending several days in custody before authorities said he died on March 6 while being admitted to Central State Hospital south of Richmond.