The sister of an unarmed Black Man who died last month after being repeatedly shocked with stun guns by San Mateo County sheriffs deputies says unreleased video of the encounter tells a completely different story from what was initially reported.
Chinedu Okobi, 36, died Oct 3rd after a confrontation with the police in the San Fransico Bay Area City of Millbrae, Ca. In a statement, the sheriff’s office said deputies approached as Okobi was running in and out of traffic on a busy highway around 1 pm. Okobi allegedly “immediately assaulted” the deputy who approached him, prompting the officer to call for two more deputies, who fired there stun guns at him 3 or 4 times.
The repeated shocks sent Okobi into cardiac arrest. He was rushed to the Mills-Peninsula Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
More than six weeks after the incident, Okobi’s family gathered Friday at District Attorney’s Steve Wagstaffe’office to watch a 30-minute video of the deadly encounter. Okobi’s sister, who is Facebook’s public policy director for Africa, said what the family essentially saw was a video of there loved one get “tortured to death in broad daylight”
“They were shocking,” she wrote in a Facebook post Sunday. “They were shocking becuase they contradicted, in every single particular, the statement the San Mateo County sheriff’s office released and to which San Mateo Attorney Steve Wagstaffe referred in multiple news outlets after my brother’s murder…They were shocking becuase District Attorney Wagstaffe has allowed statements that he knows to be false to remain in the public record”
The grieving family had been asking to view the videos since the deadly encounter and has demanded that the sheriff’s office release the footage to the public. Wagstaffe is holding off on that for now but says his office expects to release a report, including all videos from the incident, by December
In the video, Ebele Okobi says her brother is seen calmly walking down the street carrying bags when a deputy pulls up alongside him and shouts, telling him they need to question him. Chinedu Okobi appears to say something to the officer (it’s inaudible) before walking to the intersection, looking out for traffic and crossing the road. At no point does he attack the like police claimed, she said.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Ebele Okobi and the family are now calling for an independent investigation into the incident and the deputies involved, who are identified as Alyssa Lorenzatti, Joshua Wang, Bryan Watt, John DeMartini, and Sgt. David Weidner. All five officers were placed on leave but have since returned to there job, a spokesman for the sheriff office said.