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Irvo Otieno’s death ruled homicide by asphyxiation, state medical examiner’s office says


The death of Irvo Otieno has been ruled a homicide by asphyxiation, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia stated in a press release to CNN affiliate WWBT.

The 28-year-old’s explanation for death was formally ruled “positional and mechanical asphyxia with restraints,” the medical examiner’s office confirmed to WWBT.

Seven sheriff’s deputies and three hospital staff have been charged with second-degree homicide in Otieno’s death on March 6 as he was being admitted to a state-run psychological well being facility. Otieno’s household has stated he was within the midst of a psychological well being disaster.

The staff “smothered him to death” in the course of the facility’s consumption course of, Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Baskervill has stated.

Otieno was being transferred to Central State Hospital, a state-run psychological well being facility south of Richmond, from the county jail, the place he was being held after authorities allege he assaulted three officers whereas being hospitalized.

After listening to the medical examiner’s official ruling, Otieno’s mom, Caroline Ouko, was initially speechless, in keeping with a press release from the workplaces of household attorneys Ben Crump and Mark Krudys.

“All should know what they did to my son,” Ouko stated, in keeping with the assertion.

Crump and Krudys stated in a separate assertion that the medical examiner’s conclusions are “not shocking” as they align with the actions proven in surveillance footage launched by prosecutors.

“The official declaration confirms what all might see within the video. Irvo, whereas facedown and handcuffed at his wrists and shackled at his ankles, was not permitted to breathe. For over 11 minutes, the ten officer/hospital defendants pushed down exhausting on each a part of Irvo’s physique till he was limp and lifeless,” Crump stated.

“We can not proceed to deal with the mentally sick with such brutality,” Crump added.

Otieno was an aspiring hip-hop artist who moved to the US from his birthplace of Kenya on the age of 4, Krudys has stated.

Ouko, stated final month that Otieno had a psychological sickness which necessitated treatment. Her son would go lengthy stretches of time when “(you) wouldn’t even know one thing was mistaken,” Ouko defined, however then generally “he would go into some type of misery after which he must see a physician.”

The hospital staff charged in connection to Otieno’s death have been positioned on depart “pending the outcomes of the authorized proceedings,” Central State Hospital stated.

CNN has not been in a position to decide whether or not the hospital staff have authorized counsel.

The native regulation enforcement officers’ union, Henrico Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 4, has stated its members “stand by” the seven deputies charged in Otieno’s death.

On March 3, Henrico County law enforcement officials responded to a doable housebreaking and encountered Otieno.

The officers and the county’s disaster intervention group positioned Otieno below an emergency custody order after interacting with and observing him, police stated.

Under Virginia law, an individual could also be positioned below an emergency custody order if there are considerations they could hurt themselves or others because of psychological sickness.

The officers took Otieno to a hospital the place authorities say he turned “bodily assaultive” in direction of officers. Police took him to Henrico County Jail and he was booked.

Three days later, Otieno was transferred to the psychological well being facility in Dinwiddie County the place he died in the course of the consumption course of. State police investigators have been later advised Otieno turned “combative” and was “bodily restrained” in the course of the consumption course of, the legal professional’s office stated in a press release on March 14.

Surveillance footage of his death launched by a prosecutor final month begins as Otieno, certain by his fingers and ft, is introduced forcibly right into a room and dragged into an upright seated place on the ground.

Ten minutes later, Otieno seems to be on his facet and is being held by three deputies. His physique jerks and 5 extra deputies and staff transfer to pin Otieno to the ground.

A transparent view of Otieno is blocked in a lot of the video, however one deputy seems to be mendacity throughout Otieno for many of the incident as he’s pressured onto his abdomen. Eventually, Otieno is rolled onto his again, the place a number of deputies seem like restraining him with their knees. One deputy holds Otieno’s head nonetheless by grabbing his braided hair.

After 12 minutes of Otieno being pinned to the bottom, one deputy will be seen shaking Otieno’s hair and trying to take a neck pulse, however Otieno is unresponsive. Three extra minutes move earlier than CPR begins, with Otieno’s limbs nonetheless shackled.

Medical staff from the hospital are seen converging on the room as CPR continues for practically an hour. After he’s pronounced useless, Otieno is roofed in a white sheet, nonetheless mendacity on the ground, his physique briefly left alone within the room.

During Otieno’s funeral service final week, audio system known as for regulation enforcement reform and enhancements to psychological well being care in Virginia.

“We can develop psychological well being courts the place they are going to be handled like they’ve sickness and never like they’re criminals and degenerates unfit of dignity and respect,” Crump advised mourners. “Irvo deserved dignity and respect.”

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