U.S. NewsPolice Misconduct


Video of events before death of Irvo Otieno to be released this week

The video footage of Irvo Otieno arrest has not been publicly released, but prosecutors are expected to release it this week.
Posted at 7:50 PM, Mar 19, 2023

As the public continues to wait for the release of the video, Irvo Otieno’s family is asking why.

"That's all I'm looking for. I'm looking for answers. Why was my son murdered?" said Caroline Ouko, Otieno’s mother.

His family, originally from Kenya, says he had a history of mental illness and believes he died because he was deprived of his medication while he was in jail.

Otieno, a 28-year-old black man, died on March 6 at a state mental health facility.

According to a Virginia prosecutor, Otieno was held on the ground for 12 minutes by all seven deputies while he was wearing handcuffs and leg irons.

The prosecutor said Otieno did not appear to be combative and was ultimately smothered to death.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is also representing the family, described what he saw in the video to Scripps News.

"They gave him knees on the neck. They gave him slams to the ground. I mean, he was naked and they took him to the ground while he was handcuffed with such severity that it makes you gasp," said Crump.

Now three Central State Hospital employees and seven sheriff’s deputies are facing second-degree murder chargesin connection to his death.

Irvo Otieno's family speaks out after viewing video leading up to his death

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.


"And it should not be because of your mental health status and the color of your skin equal the death sentence, but that’s what you saw in that video. The brutality of them treating this young man, who needed help," said Crump.

The family says the video is "heartbreaking."

"My son was treated like a dog, less than a dog," said Ouko.

"What I saw I witnessed a homicide. I did not think in my life that I’d witness my own blood brother being murdered," said Leon Ochieng, Otieno’s brother.

According to Henrico County Police, Otieno was arrested days before his death and accused of assaulting police officers.

Authorities took him to jail and later transported him to a mental hospital, where he died.

The family hopes to spread awareness about how to treat people with mental illnesses.

"Mental illness should not be your ticket to death," said Ouko.

The ten people charged with second-degree murder are scheduled for a grand jury hearing Tuesday, March 21.