CNN — Seven central Virginia sheriff’s deputies were arrested and charged with second-degree murder Tuesday after a man in their custody died shortly after they took him from county jail to a state mental health facility, authorities say.
Irvo Otieno, 28, died on March 6 during the intake process to the facility, according to a statement from Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill. State police investigators were told Otieno had become “combative” during the admission process and was “physically restrained,” the prosecutor said.
His body was taken to the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond for an autopsy.
The statement and criminal affidavits for the deputies offered few details of what caused his death, but an attorney for the family noted its “brutal nature” in a statement.
“The family is grief stricken after learning of the brutal nature of Ivor’s death and his inhumane treatment in the hours preceding his death,” Mark Krudys, the attorney for Otieno’s family, told CNN. “The public, and experienced mental-health professionals alike, will be deeply disturbed when the facts of this case are fully made known.”
The case comes as law enforcement use of force has been under scrutiny nationwide.
The Henrico County deputies turned themselves in to state police Tuesday and are on administrative leave as investigations by their agency and state police continue, county Sheriff Alisa Gregory said in a statement.
Clockwise from top left: Tabitha Renee Levere, Randy Joseph Boyer, Kaiyell Dajour Sanders, Dwayne Alan Bramble, Bradley Thomas Disse, Brandon Edwards Rodgers and Jermaine Lavar Branch.
“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.”
The seven deputies who were charged were identified in Baskervill’s release as Randy Joseph Boyer, 57, of Henrico; Dwayne Alan Bramble, 37, of Sandston; Jermaine Lavar Branch, 45, of Henrico; Bradley Thomas Disse, 43, of Henrico; Tabitha Renee Levere, 50, of Henrico; Brandon Edwards Rodgers, 48, of Henrico; and Kaiyell Dajour Sanders, 30, of North Chesterfield.
Dinwiddie County Court records show that the deputies were scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning for an appointed counsel hearing. At least two have bonded out, according to state court records.
All seven are slotted to appear before a grand jury on March 21, court records show.
CNN has sought comment from the deputies. The Henrico Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 4, the local police union, issued a statement on Facebook saying they “stand behind” the deputies.
“Policing in America today is difficult, made even more so by the possibility of being criminally charged while performing their duty,” the group said. “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.”
What we know about his death