San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department is trying to cover up for its officers who were involved in the October Taser killing of unarmed Chinedu Valentine Okobi, a 36-year-old father and Morehouse College graduate, according to Okobi’s sister.
Ebele Okobi took to Facebook on Sunday after she and other family members had a private viewing late last week of the police arrest videos, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The police videos “were shocking because they contradicted, in every single particular, the statement that the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office released and to which San Mateo District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe referred in multiple news outlets after my brother’s murder,” said Okobi, Facebook’s public policy director for Africa, in her post.
On Oct. 3, the sheriff’s department reported that an officer confronted Chinedu Okobi running in and out of traffic in the city of Millbrae. He allegedly assaulted a deputy who called for backup. Four other officers responded, and at least one of the officers killed Okobi with a Taser.
Okobi, who earned a business administration degree from Morehouse, was a dedicated father to his 12-year-old daughter. He was also a spoken word poet who had strong views on social issues. About 10 years ago, he began to struggle with mental health issues. Okobi’s family suspected that he may have stopped taking his medication earlier this year.
“The police explanation (of what happened) is not consistent with what we saw on the tape,” said the family’s lawyer John Burris, adding that the video did not show Chinedu Okobi assaulting the officer.
There are at least two other videos of the arrest, recorded by witnesses, that also contradict the sheriff’s department’s narrative of Chinedu Okobi being aggressive, the family said. They are urging the department to release its video to the public.