Law Enforcement “Experts,” people who have never been cops but know how to handle every situation, but have never actually been put in the arena.
Men sleep peacefully in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
Quote attributed to George Orwell
Years ago I published in The American Thinker two posts (here and here) on the Baltimore Judicial Railroad. How a very ambitious local prosecutor was using a suspect (Freddy Gray) accidentally killing himself to advance her career. Fortunately the court saw this was, to say the least, “judicial overreach.” Three of the deputies were found not guilty, and the last three had their charges dismissed.
Now the latest cause célèbre of the Black Lives Matter etc. crowd (except to other blacks….wait, am I supposed to not say that?) is a man in apparent mental crisis in Virginia. The video shows from four to ten deputies and jail staffers handling Mr. Irvo Otieno, holding him down as he resist.
An abstract from the Washington Post article:
Seven sheriff’s deputies and three hospital workers have been charged with murder in the case.
As many as 10 sheriff’s deputies and medical staff at Virginia’s Central State Hospital can be seen piling on top of a shackled Irvo Otieno for approximately 11 minutes until he stops moving, according to new video showing the encounter that led to the 28-year-old Black man’s death.
The hospital surveillance video, which has no sound, shows Otieno’s final moments on March 6, from the time Henrico County sheriff’s deputies drag him into a hospital admissions room in handcuffs and leg irons, to the 11 minutes in which they restrain Otieno on the ground, to the moment when they release Otieno’s limp body around 4:40 p.m.
Minutes later, video shows workers beginning to apply chest compressions and a defibrillator machine to Otieno’s upper body, before a medical technician drapes him with a white sheet at 5:48 p.m.
Otieno, of Henrico, Va., is the latest Black man to die at the hands of law enforcement in an incident that was caught on camera, sparking community outrage and calls for accountability. Otieno’s family has said his death bears a resemblance to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers in 2020, which sparked demonstrations across the country. It also follows the death of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who died after being pulled over and beaten by police during a traffic stop in Memphis earlier this year. That incident, too, was caught on camera…
… Otieno’s family and their civil rights attorneys, Ben Crump and Mark Krudys, viewed the hospital surveillance video last week and urged prosecutors to release it publicly.
Of course, any time a black man dies in police custody, it’s because they were mishandled by law enforcement. Got it. And the usual suspects have arrived. Ben Crump et all. Haven’t heard about The Justice Brothers, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, but I don’t question they are on the move to Virginia. More to come.
If you wish to read the full Post article, help yourself. It has an abstract of the video (I was not able to get a link to the video itself), but here is the full video from YouTube:
Reviewing this video, I notice a few things:
At 4:00 minutes, it takes four men to hold Mr. Otieno down.
At 9:33, Mr. Otieno tries to get up, again, with four men on top of him.
At 9:50, it takes eight men to old Mr. Otieno down.
At 13:15, he tries to get up with eight men holding him down.
At 17:00, Mr. Otieno tries to get up, and it soon takes nine personnel to hold Mr. Otieno down.
I did a web search for any autopsy information, and all I could find was an article on how his death shows failures in the mental health system. Fair enough, but to look at this matter fully, we need to know if Mr. Otieno had underlying medical conditions, such as heart disease, or was he under the influence of narcotics.
The Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill charged the seven deputies and three staffers with 2nd Degree Murder. From an abstract of the charge, “it generally requires malice, intentionally injuring or trying to kill another. It also can come from being extremely reckless or having the knowing your actions had a high risk of causing death.”
Looking at this video, I cannot see malice, intentionally trying to injury or kill, or being reckless. The men and women were trying to keep the man from coming up and likely harming himself or others. Unlike the Tyre Nichols case in Memphis, Mr. Otieno was resisting, and with six to eight people on top of him, he was still trying to get up.
This is fairly early in the investigation, but don’t worry, the men and women will be indicted. Remember the saying about a ham sandwich. But more than that, the people judging these men and women have never had to handle someone in mental crisis, or a prisoner period.
I’ve been on the street for almost 25 years and been a Crisis Intervention Team trained officer for almost that entire time. At Ben Taub hospital I’ve often assisted staff as they handle people in crisis or under the influence of narcotics, and it takes eight or more personnel to bring ONE person under control. One time a patient under crisis got off of his bed in the ER and threatened a nurse. It took 8 men to get him strapped onto his bed, and he still almost broke my thumb.
As a jail supervisor, multiple times it took 4-6 officers, jailers, in addition to me, to handle someone who is not in crisis or under narcotics. I had one prisoner enraged and he kept slamming his foot against a brick wall. Eventually he broke his foot (I guess I was at fault for not locking him into a restrain chair).
In a NY Times article, I found some of the comments interesting. In the comments section, one “mental health professional” and “law enforcement expert” said:
I just can’t understand how 7 deputies cannot secure and individual without resulting in the same violence and traumatizing actions that they trying to protect the public from. And the medical staff watched their patient slowly suffocate for 11 minutes without intervening? It’s hard to say whether that’s grievous incompetence or callousness toward a detainees life.
No, it’s not incompetence or callousness, it’s trying to get someone under control. It’s an ugly process, and sorry, usually words don’t help. The phrase used by every “expert” (i.e., a moron fifty miles from where you are at) is police should use “de-escalation.” Hate to bust your bubble, if the subject is not willing to de-escalate himself, calming words won’t help.
I once had a homeless man attack me with a crutch and half a can of Mace did not affect him. Fortunately back up arrived and it took three of us using batons (this was before Tasers) almost five minutes to get him under control.
A store manager came out and said, “Officer, I saw it, he swung at you first,” and gave us a full statement. He then mentioned how three of his salesmen thought we were too hard on the man. My only response, “Sir, ask these three gentlemen to come out here. We’ll give them each a baton, I got half a can of Mace left, we’ll take the cuffs off and they can show us how to handle this.” For some reason the three didn’t want to.
I’ve told more than a few critics of my profession to take a ride along on a Friday or Saturday evening/night and see what the cop deals with. Ms. Baskervill, you really need to get a clue. I don’t know how this will pan out, but I if there is a site to contribute to these people, I will put my money up.
Michael A. Thiac is a retired Army intelligence officer, with over 23 years experience, including serving in the Republic of Korea, Japan, and the Middle East. He is also a retired police patrol sergeant, with over 22 years’ service, and over ten year’s experience in field training of newly assigned officers. He has been published at The American Thinker, PoliceOne.com, and on his personal blog, A Cop’s Watch.
Opinions expressed are his alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of current or former employers
Truth Social: @AFNN_USA