Lawyer concerned with use of force by deputies in Bodega Bay rampage

BODEGA BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- The lawyer representing a Silicon Valley engineer, who is facing two counts of attempted murder following a drug-fueled rampage, has new questions about how law enforcement handled his client based on what the attorney saw in a video released by the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department.

Betai Koffi, who lives in San Francisco, faces two counts of attempted murder, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon and carjacking that occurred during a 4th of July weekend getaway to Bodega Bay with friends.

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"He did some things that are pretty scary," says attorney Steve Gallenson.

According to investigators, Koffi, a Stanford grad who works at YouTube, attacked a security guard, stole his truck and then drove off, hitting several people along way. None were seriously injured.

The chase ends with a deputy firing at Koffi, who officers say was driving towards them.

But Gallenson thinks deputies were "aggressive" in trying to stop Koffi.

He says Koffi was driving less than 10 miles an hour, and that the officers were protected by law enforcement vehicles that formed a roadblock as Koffi's car approached them.

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"At this point, it seems Betai's vehicle has made contact with the CHP car, and the vehicle is stopped. Why did (the deputy) shoot another three times," asks Gallenson.

Section 300 of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department policy manual explains the use of deadly force.

It states that firing at a moving vehicle is "rarely effective," and that a deputy should shoot, "when the deputy reasonably believes there are no other reasonable means available to avert the threat."

Gallenson is also concerned with how Kofi is "yanked" out his car, after being shot in the head.

"I think it's quite disturbing that the officer just grabbed him by the wrist and yanked him out of the car, flopped him on the ground. It reminded me of what someone might do with a dead animal," says Gallenson.

The Santa Rosa Police Department is conducting the investigation, but Sergeant Spencer Crum with the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department says the video was released, "as a commitment to transparency with the public."

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"We are not here to make any judgment, either for the officer or against the officer. It's way too early. And that's not the point of releasing the video. The point is to show the facts as to what happened that day," says Sgt. Crum.

Koffi remains hospitalized and paralyzed on his left side. His arraignment is set for August 14.
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