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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Racism: “My son was tortured”: Black man dies in US clinic

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A black man dies again in the USA, apparently due to police violence – in a psychiatric clinic. Seven police officers are said to have pressed the tied man to the ground for eleven minutes.

A week and a half after the brutal death of a 28-year-old black man in a psychiatric hospital in the US state of Virginia, his relatives have made serious allegations against the police. “My son was treated like a dog, worse than a dog,” US media quoted the victim’s mother, Caroline Ouko, as saying yesterday (local time). “My son was tortured.”

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Before that, she and other family members watched a surveillance video that prosecutors said showed police officers suffocating Irvo Otieno. The video has not been released to the public.

Prosecutor: surveillance video “extremely alarming”

Otieno died March 6 at a state mental health facility during the admissions process after being transferred there from a prison, prosecutor Ann Cabell Baskervill said. Otieno was handcuffed and anklecuffed and was held on the ground by the seven police officers for eleven minutes. “He died of suffocation because he was crushed.” Baskervill said the surveillance video was “extremely clear” and “extremely alarming,” according to CNN. The police officers and three hospital employees have been charged with manslaughter.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who previously provided legal support to the family of George Floyd, an African-American man who was killed in a police operation, said the video shows how inhumanely law enforcement officials treated people who had a mental health crisis: as criminals rather than people who needed help . Otieno did not pose a threat. “He’s not violent or aggressive toward them.” You can see how he appears to be unconscious, but is still “brutally fixed with a knee on his neck”.

Comparison with case of George Floyd

Crump compared the scenes in the video to the death of George Floyd, who was handcuffed, pinned to the ground and restrained by Minneapolis police officers in May 2020. According to the Washington Post, two lawyers for Otieno’s family called on the Justice Department to investigate the incident.

Otieno’s mother, Ouko, said her son, who wanted to be a hip-hop musician, was mentally ill. He also had mental health issues when he was arrested on March 3 for an alleged burglary. He was admitted to the hospital three days later. According to the police, he became “combative” there and was held back.

In the United States, there are regular deadly police operations of a similar nature. The case of George Floyd is representative of this: In May 2020, the African American died in a brutal police operation in Minneapolis. The case led to nationwide protests against police violence and racism. Since then, there has always been dismay at similar cases.

Source: Stern

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