HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — The seven Henrico sheriff’s deputies accused of murdering an inmate earlier this month all received training on mental health crisis intervention, according to documents obtained by 8News.
The seven deputies — along with three employees of Central State Hospital — were charged in the murder of Irvo Otieno after they held him down for 12 minutes on the floor of the hospital.
Documents obtained by 8News show that all seven officers received at least 40 hours of “Crisis Intervention Training,” with several also completing an 8-hour “refresher” course in 2017.
The sheriff’s office said they did not have copies of the curriculum used during those trainings, which are conducted by the county’s Mental Health & Developmental Services.
But video showing deputies’ handling of Otieno during the days he was held at Henrico Jail, before his transfer and eventual death at Central State Hospital, have raised questions about what those training hours accomplished.
The video appears to show deputies, at various points, handcuffing Otieno through a meal tray slot, attempting to punch him and deploying pepper spray into the confined space of his cell.
Otieno was undergoing an apparent mental health crisis on March 3 when Henrico police placed him under an emergency custody order — a designation that allowed them to take him to a local hospital for help.
Police claimed he became “physically assaultive” when he arrived there, so they instead took him to the Henrico jail and charged him with assaulting an officer. There, his family claims he was denied much-needed medication.