DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Following the in-custody death of Irvo Otieno, 28, at Central State Hospital earlier this month, surveillance video of his transfer from Henrico Jail west to the hospital has been released and has garnered national attention.

8News spoke with Virginia security consultant and former police chief Mike Jones on Friday, March 24, and reviewed the surveillance video that shows Otieno in Henrico Jail West and Central State Hospital.

Seven sheriff’s deputies and three hospital workers have been charged with second-degree murder in connection with Otieno’s death. Currently all ten defendants have been released on bail.

Jones previously worked as an officer with VCU Police, before serving as Interim Chief of Police with Virginia Capitol Police. He would later serve as Deputy Sheriff in Pittsylvania County.

Before Friday, Jones said he had watched the video several times over.

“I don’t see abuse. I see a tragedy brought about by mental illness, which is endemic in our society,” Jones said. “Central State staff should have intervened quicker.”

Otieno was taken from Henrico Jail West to Central State Hospital in Dinwiddie County on March 6. He would die at the hospital later that day.

Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Baskervill, who is handling the cases against 10 individuals charged in Otieno’s death, said that the preliminary cause of death was ruled as suffocation, and the preliminary manner of death was ruled a homicide. But defense attorneys also noted in court this week that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner would not be finished with its autopsy report for another 10 to 12 weeks.

“Depending on the autopsy results, which will take some time, and the toxicology, that’s going to tell a big story. So, there’s so many unknowns here,” Jones said. “I see a tragic situation for the victim. I also see a very tragic situation for the deputies.”

But Jones also said that the system failed Otieno, something he hopes will spark change in the Commonwealth.

“The [Henrico] Commonwealth’s Attorney should have intervened,” he said. “This person is mentally ill and with a proven record of medication that is beneficial. Please, enter an order that he will get his medicine.”

Jones added that he did not see a need to pepper-spray Otieno while he was still in his cell at Henrico Jail West. Baskervill alleged that he was pepper sprayed, and the spray is apparently visible on surveillance video from the jail.

“It’s not something I would do because pepper spray is designed to control the person. He’s already in control when he’s in that jail,” Jones said. “Perhaps, they were trying to get him out, and they wanted control, and then there’s no hurry to move a person from a controlled position to a transport position if they are being violent. Transport is not an emergency unless it’s an EMS transport to a medical facility.”

Defense attorneys, Baskervill and Otieno’s loved ones have stated that the 28-year-old was in mental distress while at the Henrico jail, prompting his transport to Central State Hospital. But details remain limited as to the extent of those issues.

“When you take someone into custody, you are responsible for them 24/7,” Jones said. “We need to start treating mental illness as the dangerous thing that it is for everyone else. We need to start funding.”

As 8News previously reported, on March 2, at approximately 4:03 p.m., Henrico Police responded to the 2200 block of Haviland Drive, between Fordson and Overhill Roads, for a reported suspicious situation. Authorities said that the complainant told officers that he was concerned about his neighbor’s behavior. The neighbor was later identified as Otieno. Police said that the call was reclassified as a mental health problem after speaking with Otieno and a family member. No charges were filed as a result of this call for service.

However, the following day, on March 3, at approximately 11:34 a.m., Henrico Police said they responded to the same neighborhood — this time to the 8800 block of Fordson Road, off of Haviland Drive. According to a release, a breaking and entering had been reported. Once on scene, officers said they spoke with the complainant, who believed her home was being burglarized. Authorities on scene reportedly identified and approached Otieno as a potential suspect.

“Based on their interaction and observation of Otieno, HCPD [Henrico County Police Division] officers placed him under an emergency custody order (ECO),” spokesperson Lieutenant M.C. Pecka said in a release. “Members of Henrico County’s Crisis Intervention Team were on the scene to assist the officers.”

According to a release, Henrico officers took Otieno to the Crisis Receiving Center at Parham Doctors’ Hospital, a campus of Henrico Doctors’ Hospital. However, Otieno’s mother, Caroline Ouko, clarified Thursday that her son was taken to Henrico Doctors’ Hospital.

While there, authorities said that Otieno “became physically assaultive towards officers.” He was then arrested and taken to Henrico County Jail West, where he was charged with three counts of assault on a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct in a hospital and vandalism.

Jones said at that point, Otieno should have been kept with a doctor, not taken to a jail.

“This person is in a severe crisis,” he said. “The normal protocol is to use local mental health facilities, unless they can’t handle it. But Central State, when they get to that point, sometimes, that is the only place for them to go.”

Jones added that the Central State Hospital workers, seen in surveillance video from a hospital admission room standing around deputies as they engaged with Otieno, should have intervened sooner. He also said that the employees should have called Dinwiddie County Fire & EMS for emergency assistance earlier in the intake process.

“If you’re trying to handle a difficult situation, and you can only imagine what the family’s been through, trying to take care of their son, I mean, that’s the crisis that so many of us face,” Jones said. “Sometimes, in a case like this, the best thing they can do is put a person in a protected room where they can be observed and left alone. That did not happen.”

In a March 17 statement emailed to 8News, a Central State Hospital spokesperson said the following:

The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and Central State Hospital are fully cooperating with the Virginia State Police in this investigation and are working to ensure that Mr. Otieno’s family receives information about the tragic events at the hospital. The three hospital staff members who have been charged will be on administrative leave pending the results of the legal proceedings. We will respect the legal process while we and our staff continue to provide important care to the patients at Central State Hospital.