HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — As the nation awaits the release of the video showing the death of Irvo Otieno in Central State Hospital in Dinwiddie, local chapters of the NAACP are calling for more mental health funding and accountability.

“Again, we have witnessed the death of a Black man at the hands of law enforcement,” said Virginia NAACP President Robert Barnette. “We applaud the swift decision of the Commonwealth’s Attorney to charge the seven sheriff’s deputies and three hospital workers with second-degree murder. Nonetheless, there is a need to change how law enforcement responds to mental health crises.”

Otieno was in the midst of a mental health crisis when he was taken into custody on March 3. Authorities said he was taken to Parham Doctors’ Hospital when he became “physically assaultive toward officers,” and was charged and taken to Henrico Jail.

On March 6, Otieno was transported to Central State Hospital in Dinwiddie County, where prosecutors say he was smothered for nearly 12 minutes during the intake process.

Dinwiddie’s Commonwealth’s Attorney has charged seven Henrico County Sheriff’s deputies and three hospital workers with second-degree murder.

“A mental health crisis should never be a death sentence,” said Monica Hutchison, the vice president of the Henrico NAACP. “Jail has never been and is not the place for anyone having a mental health crisis. We need mental health funding to ensure that there are safe spaces for individuals when they are going through that crisis.” 

Hutchison said the NAACP immediately sprung into action after reports of Otieno’s death. She called this situation a systemic failure.

“Anytime we hear anyone losing their life in this manner, it’s extremely painful. We immediately want to know what can we do, what are the next steps, and letting the family know we’re here,” Hutchison said. “Our focus is civil rights and making systemic changes. This was a system failure and our focus is to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

This call for change comes one day before the expected release of the video showing Otieno’s final moments inside Central State Hospital. Dinwiddie’s top prosecutor, Ann Baskervill, said she plans to release the video on Tuesday.

The video has not been shared with the public or defense attorneys as of Monday afternoon; however, Otieno’s family and their attorneys, Benjamin Crump and Mark Krudys, have seen it and said Otieno was treated like an “animal.”

“He has leg irons on. He has handcuffs on. He poses no threat. He’s face down, and you — it’s really difficult to actually see him because throughout the duration, there are officers over every single part of him pushing down hard, relentlessly, unyieldingly, for the duration of 11 minutes,” Krudys said.

Baskervill did not reveal what time the video will be released on Tuesday; however, the NAACP is demanding accountability.

“We want to ensure that every person who is responsible for Otieno’s death is held accountable,” Hutchison said.