A Virginia grand jury has indicted 10 people — seven sheriff’s deputies and three hospital workers — for the murder of Irvo Otieno, a 28-year-old Black man who died on March 6 after being violently pinned down and piled on for more than 11 minutes by the deputies and medical staff at the Central State Hospital in Petersburg, Virginia. Video of the killing was released to the public this week and shows hospital staff attempting in vain to administer CPR to Otieno after his body went limp.
Otieno suffered from mental health challenges and was taken from his home and locked up three days earlier, after a neighbor called police when Otieno walked onto their property and took some lights and started banging on their front door. Otieno’s mother Caroline Ouko, who moved to Virginia with her family from Kenya in the 1990s, said at a news conference Tuesday her son was a sensitive and caring man who was failed by multiple institutions.
Caroline Ouko: “With my team beside me, with my friends behind me, with my community behind me, with mothers and fathers who are fearful for what might happen to their children after seeing what happened to Irvo, with young people who are going through mental distress and the world behind me, we will achieve justice for Irvo Otieno.”