San Mateo Co. authorities investigate fatal Tasing of man they say attacked deputies

MILLBRAE, Calif. (KGO) -- The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office is investigating the fatal Tasing of a man they say attacked deputies in Millbrae.

This happened at El Camino Real and Santa Helena Avenue. Roads were closed Wednesday afternoon but have reopened.

Cellphone video of the incident went viral, showing a man wandering down El Camino Real in the middle of the day. "He was kind of mumbling, yelling what do you want, what do I do," recalled tanning salon owner Dennis Barboza, who witnessed the incident.

Barboza saw San Mateo County deputies surround the man.

Surveillance video from a hotel shows the man in the street as deputies arrived on the scene around 1 p.m. Barboza saw deputies Tase the man, who he says fell to the ground and then got up. "He came running towards me on this side of the street and I was out in the street at that point and I told him, get down, just sit down, don't do this. And he continued down the road this way," Barboza said.

The sheriff's department says the man assaulted a deputy, who was taken to the hospital. Barboza says after he witnessed another scuffle with deputies, "I noticed that his chin was into his chest and he was drooling."

The man was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

When asked how he ended up getting Tased, San Mateo County DA Steve Wagstaffe said, "Well that's a detail that we're investigating right now."

Wagstaffe says his office will find out how and why the man died. He says, initially, deputies were trying to keep the man and others on El Camino Real, a very busy street, out of harm's way. "Crime lab has to do its full assessment of everything out there, including the Taser, in essence why did he die and did the police, law enforcement here improperly use force," Wagstaffe said.

Wagstaffe says the San Mateo County sheriff's office does not use body cameras but they do have dashboard cameras. That video, along with surveillance and cellphone video, will be key in his investigation, which he says will be done in 8-10 weeks.

As for the injured deputy, he did get some stitches and was released from the hospital.

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