Irvo Otieno: How Kenyan in the US ended up dead in mental health facility

Irvo Otieno died on March 6, 2023 at the age of 28 in Georgia, USA. [Courtesy of Reuters]

Irvo Otieno, a Kenyan-American, had been accused of home burglary on March 3 in Henrico County, Georgia in the United States, and when police went to arrest him, they discovered he had mental health challenges.

After being taken into custody, he was moved between mental health facilities and prison, before he eventually died in a mental care clinic, under gruesome circumstances.

Video clips of the moments before the 28-year-old man’s death on March 6, 2023 showed he was violently roughed up to death.

Otieno was manhandled by seven police officers and three hospital staff who, in efforts to contain him, ended up killing him.

The suspects, who piled on the victim for 12 minutes at a Virginia psychiatric hospital, have since been arrested and charged with second degree murder.

In the incident caught on camera, the suspects were seen struggling to handcuff Otieno at the Central State Hospital before leading him into a room, where he was to be admitted.

“They smothered him to death because he died of asphyxia due to suffocation. The incident was captured on video that is extremely clear, extremely alarming. The video is 12 minutes long and shows deliberate and cruel treatment,” prosecutors said as quoted by CBS.

The seven officers accused of second degree murder are 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.

In their defense, the accused said Otieno was violent during arrest and had to be restrained.

The Kenyan was said to have been diagnosed with bipolar and anxiety disorders during his teen years.

Otieno’s mother, Caroline Ouko, asked American authorities to ensure that her son gets justice.

The mother and son moved to the United States from Kenya when Otieno was four years old.