7 Henrico Deputies, 3 Hospital Employees Charged in Patient Restraint Death

The 28-year-old man was being transferred from a jail to a state-run mental health hospital when he died during the intake process.

7 Henrico Deputies, 3 Hospital Employees Charged in Patient Restraint Death

(Still photo from surveillance video released by Dinwiddie Circuit Court)

Seven Virginia sheriff’s deputies and three hospital employees are facing second-degree murder charges after a patient died while being admitted to a state mental health facility earlier this month.

On March 3, Henrico County Police encountered 28-year-old Irvo Otieno after receiving a call for a possible burglary in his neighborhood, reports NBC News. Officers and the county’s Crisis Intervention Team put Otieno under an emergency custody order due to their interactions with and observations of him. He was taken to Parham Doctors’ Hospital for evaluation when police say he assaulted three officers. Otieno was then arrested and transported to a local jail where he was held on three counts of assault on a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct in a hospital, and vandalism.

Three days later, Henrico deputies transferred Otieno to Central State Hospital, which is run by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. State investigators were told Otieno became combative during the intake process and died while being restrained. Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill said Otieno was in handcuffs and leg irons and was held on the ground for 12 minutes.

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

Baskervill said the incident was captured on surveillance video and shows “deliberate and cruel treatment.” Otieno’s official cause of death has not been released.

“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,” Mark Krudys, the Otieno family’s attorney, told CNN. “The public, and experienced mental health professionals alike, will be deeply disturbed when the facts of this case are fully made known.”

Krudys said Otieno was on medication for mental illness but was not able to take it while in custody. He said Otieno was experiencing a mental health crisis on March 3, and that his mother was on the scene and implored officers not to be aggressive with him.

“His mother was basically crying out for help for her son in a mental health situation,” said Krudys. “Instead, he was thrust into the criminal justice system, and aggressively treated and treated poorly at the jail.”

The seven deputies have been identified as 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. They turned themselves in to state police on Tuesday and have been placed on administrative leave.

Facing the same charges are hospital employees Darian M. Blackwell, 23; Wavie L. Jones, 34; and Sadarius D. Williams, 27. All 10 people were arrested after Baskervill filed a criminal information charge, a rare step that aims to protect other jailed people by launching criminal proceedings without needing a grand jury vote.

A grand jury issued indictments Tuesday against all 10 people.

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About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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