Dinwiddie DA to release video of Irv Atien’s in-custody death

DINWIDDIE, Va. (AP) — Prosecutors plan to release video footage that led authorities to charge seven deputies and three employees at a state mental hospital with second-degree murder in the death of a handcuffed and handcuffed man.

Irv Atien’s family saw the video of his death on Thursday. With their blessing, the video will be released in the next few days, Dinwiddie County District Attorney Ann Cabell Baskerville told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Family lawyers described the video to reporters as 12 harrowing minutes of deputies pushing and choking Atineo, a black man whose hands and feet were shackled.

“You can see them getting into it. Every part of his body is being squeezed with absolute brutality,” said family attorney Mark Krudis.

Prosecutors said Atieno, 28, did not appear combative and was sitting in a chair when officers pulled him over.

The 12-minute video also showed a lack of urgency to treat Otien after deputies determined “he was lifeless and not breathing,” Krudis said.

So far, ten people have been charged with second-degree murder in Attien’s death — seven Henrico County sheriff’s deputies and three people who work at the hospital.

The lawyers of the arrested have not yet seen the video recording.

“They are showing the video to the plaintiffs’ lawyers. But we represent these people accused of murder, who are in prison. This is really disappointing. It seems like it’s more important to curry favor with the public, to have the case in the media, instead of letting the criminal justice process work the way it’s supposed to work,” attorney Peter Baruch told the Richmond newspaper.

Atien’s case is the latest example of the in-custody death of a black man under the scrutiny of law enforcement. It comes after the fatal shooting of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee, earlier this year and nearly three years after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Adiena, who was a child when his family emigrated from Kenya and grew up in suburban Richmond, has a history of mental health issues and was experiencing a mental breakdown during his first encounter with law enforcement earlier this month, his family and their attorneys said .

That set off a chain of events that led to him spending several days in custody before authorities said he died March 6 while being admitted to Central State Hospital, south of Richmond.

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