Henrico County, VA: The family of Irvo Otieno, a Virginia man who died under questionable circumstances while in police custody earlier this year, has reached a wrongful death settlement.
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This resolution came after a tense period of investigations and legal deliberations, bringing some closure to a grieving family and prompting a call for reforms in how law enforcement handles those in crisis.
Disturbing Circumstances Surrounding Death
Otieno passed away on March 6 when police admitted him to Central State Hospital in Dinwiddie County, VA, for treatment.
A video clip from the incident, made public later that month, paints a harrowing picture.
In it, sheriff’s deputies and medical personnel are seen forcefully dragging a handcuffed Otieno into a room at the hospital.
Tragically, as many as ten individuals can be observed piling on top of him, where he remained for over 10 minutes until his unfortunate death.
This event was subsequently ruled a homicide in early April, with experts pinning the cause of death on “positional and mechanical asphyxia with restraints.”
The Settlement and Official Statements
Though the exact terms and amount of the settlement remain undisclosed to the public, the family’s legal representatives, attorneys Ben Crump and co-counsel Mark Krudys, have confirmed its approval by a Virginia Circuit Court judge.
In a statement shared on Wednesday, Crump and Krudys said on behalf of the Otieno family: “The family is pleased that they were able to find a resolution outside of court in a manner that honors Irvo’s life.”
Macaulay Porter, the spokesperson for Virginia’s Governor Glenn Youngkin, also weighed in on the matter.
Speaking to Law & Crime, Porter mentioned the governor’s hope that the settlement could ease the immense pain felt by Otieno’s family.
“Gov. Youngkin remains committed to transforming the behavioral health system to ensure that those in crisis will receive the care they need and that they will receive it at the right time and place,” Porter emphasized.
Calls for Reforms
The tragic circumstances surrounding Otieno’s death have intensified calls for reforms, emphasizing the need for better care, understanding, and handling of individuals in crises by law enforcement and medical personnel.