DINWIDDIE, Va. (AP) – Prosecutors plan to release video next week that has led Virginia authorities to charge seven deputies and three employees of a state mental hospital with second-degree murder in the death of a handcuffed and shackled man.
Irv Otien’s family saw a video of his death on Thursday. With their blessing, the footage will be released to the public in the next few days, Dinwiddie County Prosecutor Ann Cabell Baskervill told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Lawyers for the family described the video to reporters as 12 harrowing minutes of deputies pushing and choking Otine, a black man whose hands and feet were restrained.
“You can see they are putting their backs into it. Every part of his body was pushed with absolute brutality,” said family attorney Mark Krudis.
Prosecutors said Otieno, 28, did not appear combative and was sitting in a chair when officers pulled him over.
The 12-minute video also shows a lack of urgency to help Otien after deputies found him “lifeless and not breathing,” Krudis said.
Ten people have so far been charged with second-degree murder in Otien’s death — seven Henrico County sheriff’s deputies and three hospital employees.
The lawyers of the arrested have not yet seen the video.
“They are showing the video to the plaintiff’s lawyers. But we represent these people accused of murder who are incarcerated. It’s really disappointing. “It seems more important to curry favor with the public, to try the case in the media, rather than allow the criminal justice process to work as it should,” defense attorney Peter Baruch told the Richmond newspaper.
Otien’s case represents the latest example of the death of a black man in police custody. It follows the fatal beating of Tyra Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee, earlier this year and comes nearly three years after the killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
Otieno, who was a child when his family immigrated from Kenya and grew up in suburban Richmond, had a history of mental health problems and was experiencing mental health problems at the time of his first encounter with police earlier this month, his family and their attorneys said.
That set off a chain of events that led to him spending several days in custody before authorities said he died March 6 while being admitted to Central State Hospital south of Richmond.