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Footage shows Irvo Otieno pinned down by deputies before death in mental hospital

Sheriff officials and mental hospital workers in Virginia forcefully pinned down patient Irvo Otieno until he stopped moving and his body went limp, according to footage of the deadly encounter released Tuesday.

The video, released by prosecutors who charged seven sheriff deputies and three hospital staffers with murder in Otieno’s death, shows the 28-year-old struggling under the body weight of multiple officials inside Central State Hospital on March 6.

At one point it appeared at least ten people were pushing down on Otieno while he was restrained and on the floor, according to the footage that has no audio.

Around 4 p.m., he arrived at the hospital before a different camera showed him being led into a room with tables and chairs around 4:20 p.m., according to timestamps on the video.

He’s brought to a seat before slumping to the floor.

Virginia sheriff deputies can be seen wrestling with Irvo Otieno at the mental hospital. via REUTERS

At first, he’s seated but then lies flat.

And then it appears he starts to move around, leading to a growing number of workers pressing him down, the footage shows.

By close to 4:40 p.m., someone took his pulse as he laid unresponsive and moments later he was injected twice. Shortly after that, CPR began on his seemingly lifeless body as other life-saving efforts continued without much hope for about an hour.

Footage showed Irvo Otieno, the 28-year-old Black man, arrive at the hospital around 4 p.m. Ben Crump Law/AFP via Getty Images

By 5:48 p.m., a white sheet covered his body.

Dinwiddie Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill asserted in court Tuesday workers held him down “from his braids down to his toes.”

“He certainly did not deserve to be smothered to death, which is what happened,” Baskervill said.

Irvo Otieno was given CPR to his seemingly lifeless body before a white sheet covered his body. via REUTERS

Baskervill has said multiple times he died from asphyxiation, though a final autopsy report has not been issued.

Defense attorneys have claimed the injections helped lead to his death, but Baskervill argued he was dead by the time the shots were administered.

Seven deputies and three hospital workers have been charged with second-degree murder.

A grand jury signed off on the charges Tuesday.

Medical staff aid Irvo Otieno, as the 28-year-old is positioned on his back in one of the hospital rooms. via REUTERS

Lawyers representing many of the defendants have said they plan to strongly fight against the charges.

Some attorneys tried to minimize their clients’ roles in the incident either in court or speaking to the Associated Press Tuesday.

Baskervill’s filing that included the release of the footage also disclosed audio from 911 calls tied to the case.

Caroline Ouko (center left), mother of Irvo Otieno, speaks of her son with attorney Mark Krudys (left), her older son, Leon Ochieng (center right), and attorney Ben Crump (right) at First Baptist Church of South Richmond on March 21, 2023. AP

One caller from the hospital said Otieno had been “very aggressive,” but stopped breathing during attempts to restrain him.

Other calls complain about the slow response from EMS to help Otieno.

“Those 10 monsters, those 10 criminals, I was happy to hear that they were indicted,” Otieno’s mother, Caroline Ouko, said during a Tuesday news conference. “And that is just the beginning step.”

A probe into the events before Otieno’s death – both at Henrico County hospital where he was taken and the jail where his family said he was allegedly mistreated – is ongoing, prosecutors with Henrico County said. 

With Post wires