Crime & Justice

Video shows police immobilizing, suffocating African American man

Washington, Mar 21 (EFE).- New video evidence shows several police officers forcing to the floor a young African American man, who prosecutors say was “smothered” in police custody on March 6, US media outlets reported on Tuesday.

Irvo Otieno, 28, died while being admitted to the Central State Hospital in Virginia, where he was sent from a Henrico County jail.

Monitoring cameras recorded Otieno, handcuffed and with shackles on his legs, being escorted to the admission area at the health center, located in Dinwiddie County, at 4:19 pm on March 6.

The recording shows how the young man was pushed to the ground by medical orderlies and officers and how, 10 minutes later, more officers and health center workers arrived to help subdue him.

Otieno was lying on the floor face up, with several officers apparently kneeling on him and one officer grabbing his hair.

After being immobilized for 12 minutes, one officer is seen trying to take Otieno’s pulse but unable to find one, and then the video shows the personnel on hand trying fruitlessly for three minutes to revive him.

Last Thursday, three hospital workers were charged with Otieno’s murder along with seven deputies from the Henrico County Sheriff’s Department, who were arrested and are facing second-degree murder charges.

Otieno, whose family emigrated from Kenya when he was 4, had been arrested and placed in emergency custody – which is used for people who may be suffering from a mental illness – after being accused of attacking a police employee in Henrico County on March 3, local authorities said.

The day after he was arrested, Otieno was transferred to the state hospital, where he later died.

The case comes a little more than two months after the death of Tyre Nichols, a black man who died after a police beating in Memphis, sparking massive outrage throughout the US.

US police have been accused by human rights organizations of using disproportate violence against members of the country’s African American population.

Almost one-third of all people killed by police in the US in 2021 were African American, despite comprising just 13 percent of the country’s population, according to the Mapping Police Violence organization.

EFE –/bp

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