No criminal charges for San Mateo County deputies in October Tasing death

MILLBRAE, Calif. (KGO) -- The San Mateo County Sheriff's deputies who Tased and killed Chinedu Okobi in October 2018 will not face criminal charges. San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe made the announcement Friday.

New video out by the San Mateo County D.A.'s office shows the moment the October 3 pedestrian traffic violation turned violent.

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

Okobi is shown wandering around busy El Camino Real in the middle of the day.

A release by the sheriff's office explained traffic safety is an important component of the office's duties.

"We have had multiple pedestrian-related collisions in this area including a fatal pedestrian-involved collision," the release read. "Our personnel were concerned for Mr. Okobi's safety as well as the safety of others around him and it was appropriate to address these safety concerns."

Okobi was recorded in several scuffles with deputies before tasers were deployed.

The D.A.'s office says its investigation found the five deputies involved acted in a "lawful" manner.

"In my mind, I found what the deputies did here not just complied with California law, it was reasonable conduct under the circumstances," Wagstaffe said.

At a Friday night community rally along the 1400 block of El Camino Real, Okobi supporters told ABC7 News the ruling is ridiculous.



Rev. Ben Meyers with Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo said, "Every citizen, every elected official, every civil servant, whether they're in uniform or not should be outraged that it has just been declared lawful."

Okobi's family has long-disputed claims made by the sheriff's office. His sister, Ebele Okobi spoke with ABC7 News after Friday's breaking development.

"We're devastated as a family," Ebele said. "But we're not surprised."

RELATED: Sister of man who died after being tased by deputies in Millbrae says video discredits official story

The family's attorney, John Burris added the following, "That is not a surprise decision for us. We've been involved in countless numbers of police shooting cases, and not once has the District Attorney of any county filed any charges, other than the Oscar Grant case that happened 10 years ago."

Others who knew Chinedu Okobi agree and say they feel the problem is rooted in race.

"It makes you feel so unsafe when somebody like him can get killed," Jennifer Sisson said about her former high school classmate. "But I know why, it's the racial profiling that they're doing."

The ACLU released the following statement on Friday, "The video and reports provided by the San Mateo District Attorney related to the death of Chinedu Okobi in Millbrae on Oct. 3 have all the earmarks of racial profiling. If crossing the street made Okobi the object of police attention and attempted detention - one has to ask if Okobi was white, would the reaction have been the same?"

The ACLU added, "Okobi's death proves once again that tasers are not non-lethal weapons."

The Sheriff's office maintains deputies tried to defuse the situation and reassure Okobi. The newly released video shows deputies telling Okobi to get on his stomach, tasing him again after he runs away.

The sheriff's office added this to its release, "At this time, the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office has no immediate plans institute a moratorium on Tasers. We will continue to provide our deputies with a number of force options and will evaluate our equipment to ensure we have the best tools and training available for our community."

Those at Friday's community rally were extremely vocal about their displeasure.

"There were so many options to not kill him," San Mateo County resident, Arne Hurty told ABC7 News. "And none of those seemed to be taken."

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