RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The family of Irvo Otieno is set to hold a town hall event at Virginia Union University (VUU) to share stories about the struggles of mental illness and call for justice.
The family of Irvo Otieno will be joined by their attorney, Benjamin Crump, on Wednesday, May 24, for the event, “Justice for Irvo Otieno Townhall: Advocating for Black Mental Health in Our Communities and Policy.”
Henrico County Sheriff’s deputies took Otieno, 28, to Central State Hospital in Dinwiddie County just before 4 p.m. on Monday, March 6. Virginia State Police — leading the investigation — said that Otieno became combative as he was being admitted.
A video released by the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office shows deputies and hospital staff restraining Otieno — who is handcuffed and shackled at the ankles — and pinning him to the ground for an estimated 12 minutes before he is rendered unconscious and ultimately dies.
Randy Joseph Boyer, 57; Dwayne Alan Bramble, 37; Jermaine Lavar Branch, 45; Bradley Thomas Disse, 43; Tabitha Renee Levere, 50; Brandon Edward Rodgers, 48; and Kaiyell Dajour Sanders, 30; appeared in Dinwiddie County Circuit Court via video chat Wednesday, March 15. They were all charged with second-degree murder.
Three Central State Hospital employees — Darian M. Blackwell, 23, of Petersburg; Wavie L. Jones, 34, of Chesterfield; and Sadarius D. Williams, 27, of North Dinwiddie — were also charged with second-degree murder a couple of days later.
The last appearance of Otieno’s family resulted in new details on the events that led to his death coming to light.
The following speakers will take part in the town hall:
- Attorney Ben Crump
- James Harris of Men to Heal
- Joanne Oport of Africans For Mental Health
- Denisha Potts of Chesterfield NAACP
- Esther Thomas — a relative of Irvo Otieno
- Lawrence West of BLM RVA
- Monica Hutchinson, Vice President of Henrico NAACP
- Moderated by Allan-Charles Chipman
The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Claude G. Perkins Living & Learning Center on VUU’s campus. A live stream of the event will also be available online.