Seven police officers and three workers at a psychiatric hospital in Virginia have been charged with second-degree murder in the death of a black inmate, the prosecutor in the case announced Thursday.
Irvo Otieno, 28, died on March 6 at Central State Hospital in the city of Petersburg, 200 kilometers south of Washington, after being transferred there from a local prison for his mental condition.
According to the results of the preliminary autopsy, the man died of suffocation while being "physically restrained"Dinwiddie County District Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill said in a statement.
The victim’s family learned about the video recording of his death on Thursday.
Although "I was suffering from mental illness, what I saw today was heartbreaking"said his mother Caroline Ouko at a press conference. According to her, the video shows "seven officers over one man".
"My son was treated like a dog, worse than a dog. I saw it with my own eyes… they suffocated my baby"the woman lamented.
Ben Crump, a lawyer known for representing victims of police violence against blacks, took on the case.
Crump told reporters that seven police officers held Otieno, who was handcuffed and had his ankles shackled, for 12 minutes.
Ranging in age from 30 to 57, seven Henrico County Sheriff’s deputies were taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder.
Also three hospital workers, between the ages of 23 and 34, were arrested on the same charge.
The United States has faced numerous protests over police brutality and racism since the 2020 killing of George Floyd, a black man who died while being pulled over by Minneapolis police.