7 Virginia Deputies Facing Charges for the Passing of a Man Allegedly Smothered in Custody

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On March 6th, a man by the name of Irvo Noel Otieno died during his intake process in police custody at a state mental hospital.

Initial Findings

Otieno family photo/Krudys Law Firm

Seven Virginia deputies from the Henrico Sheriff’s Office have been charged with the second-degree murder of the 28-year-old. According to the local news outlet, WTVR, he was initially put in emergency custody when authorities responded to a burglary on March 3. That previous day, Henrico County Police Department was contacted by Otieno’s neighbor for a mental health check.

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Otieno was moved from Henrico jail to Central State Hospital, a psychiatric facility owned by the state which is located in Dinwiddie County, according to the news source.

Ann Cabell Baskervill, the Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney, told the local outlet that Otieno was put into leg shackles and handcuffs. He died during that time.

There is a 12-minute video clip of the seven officers on top of the man. Their weight in the excessive attempt to restrain him caused Otieno to suffocate. Baskervill called the deputies’ actions “cruel treatment.”

Additional Details

Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch, via Associated Press

The seven officers involved turned themselves in on Tuesday. The perpetrators include Jermaine Lavar Branch, Dwayne Alan Bramble, Brandon Edwards Rodgers, Randy Joseph Boyer, Bradley Thomas Disse, Tabitha Renee Levere, Kaiyell Dajour Sanders. Their grand jury appearance is set for March 21.

The Henrico County Sheriff Alisa A. Gregory released a statement on behalf of the department.

“As Henrico County sheriff and on behalf of our entire office, I extend my deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Irvo Otieno. The events of March 6, at their core, represent a tragedy because Mr. Otieno’s life was lost. This loss is felt by not only those close to him but our entire community,” the statement says.

It continues, “The seven deputies who were transferring custody of Mr. Otieno have been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the Commonwealth’s cases. As an office, we are cooperating fully with the investigation of the Virginia State Police. Separately, we are conducting our own independent review of this incident.”

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