VA prosecutor charges 7 sheriff's deputies, 3 hospital workers with murder of man at mental health facility; local legal analyst says charges this early in investigation is unusual
· Mar 16, 2023 ·

Earlier this week in Virginia there arose what appears to be a major scandal in local law enforcement ranks:

Seven central Virginia sheriff's deputies have been arrested and charged with second-degree murder after a man in their custody died shortly after they took him from county jail to a state mental health facility, authorities say.

The 28-year-old man died March 6, three days after officers encountered him while responding to a possible burglary, police said in a news release.

The man, Ivor Otieno, was arrested earlier this month during an alleged burglary. He was quickly put under an "emergency custody order," shortly after which he was charged with "three counts of assault on a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct in a hospital and vandalism."

Prosecutors subsequently claimed that Otieno "was smothered to death when deputies held him on the ground for 12 minutes while in handcuffs and leg irons." And now three more workers have been implicated in his death:

Prosecutors on Thursday filed three additional charges of second-degree murder in the March 6 death of Irvo N. Otieno at Central State Hospital. ...

The Dinwiddie County commonwealth's attorney in a statement said [the three men] worked at the hospital. They were arrested Thursday and taken to Meherrin River Regional Jail in Brunswick County.

It's unclear how the hospital workers may have been involved with the death; the local prosecutor is presently not releasing video of the incident.

A local legal analyst for NBC 12 said that charging this many law enforcement officers this early in an investigation is not normal.

We'll stay tuned on this one.

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