New video on Tuesday night shows the moments that led up to a deadly encounter between deputies and a man in Millbrae.
Thirty-six-year-old Chinedu Okobi died after being tased during a struggle with San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies.
Now, his family is questioning whether or not the use of force was necessary.
The man’s family is demanding that the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department release the video of the incident.
Okobi’s family gathered to mourn their loss in San Francisco.
A memorial service was held earlier on Tuesday for Okobi at the San Francisco Christian Center.
When it was over, the attorney representing the family demanded police release the video of his death.
“We think the least that we can have as a family is closure as to how he died,” Okobi said.
The family of Okobi is seeking answers to the circumstances that led to his death. Cellphone video of the Oct. 2018 incident in Millbrae when witnesses saw Okobi being tased by deputies with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. He later died at the hospital.
According to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to the report of a man running in and out of traffic on 1300 block of El Camino Real, and when a deputy made the initial contact with Okobi, he allegedly assaulted the deputy.
“I rarely if ever, to be honest with you, accept the narrative of the police that they put out at first blush because I always know it is written to justify the conduct that they have,” Civil Rights Attorney John Burris said.
Not only does Burris not accept the sheriff office’s account of what happened, but he also doesn’t think a taser should have been used on Okobi, a man with a history of mental illness.
“You don’t tase them because they don’t respond in a way you think they could,” Burris said. “Maybe you should think there is another approach here? Maybe it is called de-escalation? Maybe it is called talking to that person in a reasonable manner, not yelling at that person. Not demanding because that is how you escalate a situation when you’re talking to someone, one who is maybe mentally impaired. The worse thing to do is to demand that they act like a normal person or yell at them in a way that will only make the situation worse.”
On behalf of the Okobi family, Burris is asking that all police video of the incident be released. The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office is handling the investigation to determine whether the deputies in this case used excessive force.
That investigation is ongoing.
The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office is conducting its own internal affairs investigation of the incident.
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