7 Virginia Deputies Charged With 2nd-Degree Murder of Black Man ‘Smothered’ In Custody

7 Virginia Deputies Charged With 2nd-Degree Murder of Black Man ‘Smothered’ In Custody

The sheriff’s deputies who had a Black man die in their custody earlier this month were charged with second-degree murder on Tuesday.

According to CNN, 28-year-old Irvo Otieno died 6 during the intake process as he was being transferred from a Henrico County jail to a state mental health facility in Virginia. Seven deputies have been arrested and charged with for their involvement in Otieno’s death..

Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill said in court Wednesday that Otieno was in handcuffs and leg irons and kept on the ground for 12 minutes by the seven deputies transporting him.

“They smothered him to death,” she said. “He died of asphyxia due to being smothered.”

The incident was captured on surveillance video that she described as “extremely clear, extremely alarming.” The 12-minute video reveals the “deliberate and cruel treatment” Otieno received from the deputies.

Those seven deputies, Randy Joseph Boyer, 57; Dwayne Alan Bramble, 37; Jermaine Lavar Branch, 45; Bradley Thomas Disse, 43; Tabitha Renee Levere, 50; Brandon Edwards Rodgers, 48; and Kaiyell Dajour Sanders, 30, turned themselves in Tuesday.

They were placed on administrative leave as the investigations by their agency and state police continue, according to a statement by county Sheriff Alisa Gregory.

“The events of March 6, at their core, represent a tragedy because Mr. Otieno’s life was lost,” Gregory said. “This loss is felt by not only those close to him but our entire community.”

An attorney for the family of Otieno, Mark Krudys released a statement describing the “brutal nature” and “inhumane treatment” by the police officers.

“The family is grief-stricken after learning of the brutal nature of Irvo’s death and his inhumane treatment in the hours preceding his death,” he said. “The public, and experienced mental health professionals alike, will be deeply disturbed when the facts of this case are fully made known.”

The Henrico Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 4 released a statement defending the actions of those seven deputies on its Facebook page.

“Today, seven Henrico County Sheriff’s Deputies were charged with murder in relation to the death of inmate Irvo Otieno. The death of Mr. Otierno was tragic, and we express our condolences to his family. We also stand behind the seven accused deputies now charged with murder by the Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Baskervill.