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‘My son was handled like a canine,’ mom screams after watching video of his demise at a hospital

CNN  — 

Aspiring rapper Irvo Otieno streamed his music – with titles like “Man within the Center,” “Can’t Wait,” “Trapped Out,” and “Frenzy” – beneath the identify Younger Vo.

Otieno was 28, may write a tune in lower than 5 minutes, and needed to start out his personal document label, mentioned his mom, Caroline Ouko.

“He had discovered his factor. You already know that feeling while you discover your factor?” Ouko recalled. “He was proud of what he was doing… He would go in his room and shut the door. And he had it. He was sensible and inventive and brilliant.”

Otieno, whose household emigrated from Kenya when he was 4, was smothered to demise on March 6 at Central State Hospital in Virginia, a prosecutor mentioned.

Seven Henrico County sheriff’s deputies and three hospital safety guards have been charged with second-degree homicide in the demise of the promising hip-hop artist whose household mentioned was having a psychological well being disaster when he died.

“All I’m left with is his voice,” Ouko lamented.

Otieno’s household now desires solutions to the questions surrounding his demise, together with why nobody intervened to maintain him from being killed.

“Can somebody clarify to me why my brother shouldn’t be right here, proper now?” his older brother, Leon Ochieng, mentioned at a information convention Thursday.

In a GoFundMe web page entitled “Justice for Irvo Otieno,” Ochieng wrote: “Being mentally unwell shouldn’t be a demise sentence.”

‘Irvo is as American as apple pie’

Irvo Otieno wanted to start his own record label, his mom said.

Ouko, holding a framed portrait of a smiling Otieno through the information convention in Dinwiddie, mentioned her son got here to the US from Kenya as boy. He went to kindergarten at Tuckahoe Elementary Faculty and graduated in 2012 from Douglas S. Freeman Excessive Faculty, the place – in keeping with the Richmond Instances-Dispatch – he performed soccer and basketball. He attended faculty in California.

“Irvo is as American as apple pie,” his mom mentioned. “That is what he is aware of. That is house for him. And while you’re house you might be in a group. We dwell in a group. We have now mates. This younger man you see right here had an enormous coronary heart.”

Classmates turned to Otieno after they had issues, Ouko mentioned. He was a listener and a frontrunner who introduced his personal perspective to the desk, she added.

“If there was dialogue, he was not afraid to go the opposite means when everyone else is following,” she mentioned.

“This was my child. He cared for folks. He cared that individuals have been handled proper. That was on the core of his upbringing in our house. He cared that individuals have been handled equally.”

In center college, Otieno would invite classmates consuming lunch alone to affix him, Ouko mentioned. “He was sort.”

Her son had a psychological sickness that necessitated medicine, Ouko mentioned. There have been lengthy stretches the place one “wouldn’t even know one thing was flawed” adopted by instances when “he would go into some sort of misery after which he must see a physician,” she mentioned.

‘I’ve by no means seen something like this’

Ben Crump and Family of Irvo Otieno to View Video From Police-Involved Death
Virginia prosecutor reveals disturbing particulars about demise of man in custody
02:29 – Supply: CNN

Henrico County officers responding to a report of a potential housebreaking arrested Otieno on March 3, in keeping with police. The officers, accompanied by members of a disaster intervention crew, positioned him beneath an emergency custody order resulting from their interactions with and observations of him, police mentioned.

In accordance with Virginia regulation, an individual could be positioned beneath an emergency custody order when there’s cause to consider they might damage themselves or others on account of psychological sickness.

The officers took Otieno to a hospital the place authorities mentioned he assaulted three officers. Police took him to county jail and he was booked on expenses of assault on a regulation enforcement officer, disorderly conduct in a hospital and vandalism, police mentioned.

On March 6, Otieno was taken to Central State Hospital, a state psychological well being facility in Dinwiddie County, and died through the consumption course of, in keeping with Commonwealth’s Legal professional Ann Cabell Baskervill.

The prosecutor mentioned seven regulation enforcement deputies, joined by three hospital workers who labored as safety guards, “smothered him to demise” whereas restraining him.

“I’ve by no means seen something like this,” Baskervill mentioned, referring to unreleased video that exhibits the person’s demise.

Otieno was held on the bottom in handcuffs and leg irons for 12 minutes by seven deputies, Baskervill mentioned. She characterised his conduct throughout that point as “being distressed, moderately than assaultive, combative.”

Baskervill mentioned the safety guards passively watched the alleged smothering however ultimately joined in and piled on prime of the sufferer together with the deputies.

The Henrico Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 4, the native regulation enforcement officers’ union, issued an announcement Tuesday that mentioned they “stand behind” the deputies. Attorneys for 3 of the deputies charged have mentioned Otieno resisted arrest, the officers adopted their coaching, and that they seemed ahead to attempting the case in court docket.

A preliminary report from the Workplace of Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond recognized asphyxiation as a reason for demise, the commonwealth legal professional’s workplace mentioned in an announcement.

The seven Henrico County deputies, who turned themselves in to state police Tuesday, are on administrative depart as investigations by their company and state police proceed, county Sheriff Alisa Gregory mentioned in an announcement.

“The occasions of March 6, at their core, signify a tragedy as a result of Mr. Otieno’s life was misplaced,” Gregory mentioned. “This loss is felt by not solely these near him however our whole group.”

Central State Hospital mentioned the three workers who have been charged in reference to Otieno’s demise have been positioned on depart “pending the outcomes of the authorized proceedings,” in opposition to them.

“The Division of Behavioral Well being and Developmental Companies and Central State Hospital are totally cooperating with the Virginia State Police on this investigation and are working to make sure that Mr. Otieno’s household receives details about the tragic occasions on the hospital,” the division and the hospital mentioned in an announcement to CNN on Monday.

‘Nobody stood as much as cease what was occurring’

exp TSR.Todd.Henrico.deputies.charged.prosecutor.speaks_00020801.png
Prosecutor describes VA demise in custody
02:29 – Supply: CNN

Video footage of Otieno’s demise has not but been launched to the general public.

Otieno’s household considered the video, offered by prosecutors, on Thursday. His mom mentioned Otieno was tortured.

“My son was handled like a canine, worse than a canine,” Ouko screamed, indignant that nobody stopped what led to her son’s demise.

Ochieng mentioned folks must be assured in calling for assist when their family members are in disaster. He didn’t consider the folks he noticed on the video cared about preserving a life.

“What I noticed was a dull human being with none illustration,” Ochieng mentioned, including that his household is damaged and demanding extra consciousness on learn how to deal with these with psychological sicknesses.

“Irvo cherished sports activities, music and the seaside,” Ochieng wrote on the GoFundMe web page. “He usually mentioned he needed to be nice in the future and assist his younger family again in Kenya with their wants.”

Ouko urged folks to take a second and hearken to her son’s music.

“He calls it like it’s, however there’s goodness in his music. And that’s all I’m left with now. He’s gone,” she mentioned.

“I can’t be at his marriage ceremony. I’ll by no means see a grandchild … as a result of somebody refused to assist him. Nobody stood as much as cease what was occurring. We have now to do higher.”

CNN’s Steve Almasy, Kimberly Berryman, Sara Sensible and Brian Todd contributed to this report.

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