U.S. NewsPolice Misconduct


Otieno's mother 'broken' after seeing video of son's in-custody death

Irvo Otieno's mother says her son was treated "worse than a dog" at the Henrico County jail and Central State Hospital.
Posted at 8:39 PM, Mar 17, 2023

Irvo Otieno's family said they were left "broken" after watching a video of their loved one's death.

"My son was treated like a dog. Worse than a dog," Otieno's mother, Caroline Ouko, said during a press conference this week.

"What I saw, I witnessed a homicide," Otieno's brother Leon Ochieng said.

Otieno's mother and brother spoke minutes after they watched two videos at the Dinwiddie County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office.

The first video showed Otieno at the Henrico County jail on March 6. The second showed Otieno inside Central State Hospital.

"What I saw today was heartbreaking," Ouko said.

The family's lawyers, Mark Krudys and Ben Crump, described what they said the videos showed.

At the Henrico Jail, they said Otieno was naked in his cell with feces on the ground. They said he was handcuffed when five Henrico deputies rushed into the cell and carried him out.

"He was carried about by his arms and legs into a vehicle like an animal," Krudys said.

Irvo Otieno

Sheriff's deputies charged with Virginia man's death

Authorities originally said there were "no issues with any of their actions" after Irvo Otieno died in their custody.


Once inside Central State, a state-run psychiatric hospital, the attorneys said Otieno was seated in a chair with handcuffs and leg restraints and was not resisting.

They said deputies pushed him to the ground where he lay face-down. Seven deputies and three Central State employees, all now charged with second-degree murder, then pushed down on him with force, they said.

The attorneys said at least two deputies put their knees on Otieno's neck.

They said the incident lasted 11 minutes.

"Why in the wake of George Floyd would you put a knee on a neck?" Crump asked.

Otieno's mother and brother want to know why, especially when the Henrico Police officers who originally took Otieno to Henrico Doctors' Hospital on March 3, knew he was experiencing a mental health crisis.

"The doctor said he was caring for him and he would be OK," Ouko said.

But it was there that Henrico Police decided to charge Otieno with assaulting an officer, disorderly conduct in a hospital and vandalism.

Otieno's family does not know why.

Henrico Police had stated Otieno was "physically assaultive" toward officers.

"I don’t understand how all systems failed him," Ouko said.

"At what point do we consider mental illness a crime?" Ochieng asked.

They said they now hoped for justice for Otieno and changes to what they called a broken system.

They are also calling for the videos to be released to the public.

This story was originally reported by Scripps News Richmond.