Family and friends remembering man who died after being tased by deputies in Millbrae

MILLBRAE, Calif. (KGO) -- Family and friends of 36-year-old Chinedu Okobi remember him as a man with a big smile, a warm heart and a powerful spirit at a Memorial Service at San Francisco's Christian Center. His life, his close-knit family said, mattered.

There was love in the church-- but also anger.

Okobi's sister Ebele Okobi said, "We are begging for the opportunity for closure. We're begging for the opportunity to properly bury him."

But proper burial to the family means getting to the truth.

RELATED: Funeral to take place for man who died after being tased by deputies in Millbrae

Two weeks ago, Okobi died after San Mateo County Sheriffs deputies tased him on El Camino in Millbrae. Cellphone video shows Okobi wandering in and out of traffic on a busy stretch of El Camino. Surveillance video shows deputies on the scene. A witness saw him getting tased and in a scuffle with deputies and that afterward, he appeared dazed and unconscious.

"I noticed that his chin was in his chest and he was drooling."

Okobi later died at the hospital.

Family attorney John Burris said, "The use of force including the taser was disproportionate to what he in fact actually did."

Burris says deputies should have used de-escalation to calm him down and that Okobi was probably suffering from a mental breakdown. His sister says in an interview with ABC7news, that he had a history of mental illness.
"Anyone who's had a loved one with mental illness, it's such a struggle getting a diagnosis. It's a struggle getting treatment."

There have been two other taser-related deaths in San Mateo County this year.

District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe is also investigating whether deputies used excessive force in all the deaths. He's also concerned about the efficacy of the taser.

"We are in contact with Axon which is the manufacturer of the device. We know is its purpose is to be nonlethal yet we have a case here in Millbrae where it was lethal."

Attorney Burris wants the DA to release video and records of the tasing to the family. He also wants a moratorium in San Mateo County on the use of tasers-- this after two prior deaths related to tasers this year.

DA Wagstaffe says he's still waiting for the Coroner's autopsy and toxicology reports. He expects to wrap up the investigation in December.
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