Leaders in San Mateo County’s faith communities came together Tuesday to demand officials there release police body camera footage of an officer-involved death in Millbrae.
The district attorney promises the video of deputies Tasering 37-year-old Chinedu Okobi will be released, but not before the entire investigation is done. He estimated it would be released early next year.
Leaders from different churches, synagogues and mosques came together Tuesday to demand transparency and justice.
"We need to know that our government and our sheriff is working on a way that is lawful, as well as just and compassionate,"
Deputies say Okobi was running in and out of traffic in Millbrae when a deputy tried to stop him. The sheriff’s office has said that Okobi assaulted the deputy, who then called for backup, which led them to deploy their Taser guns.
San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe argued that releasing the video now before the entire investigation is completed wouldn’t give the public the whole story and all the facts.
"I’m not putting out just the video," Wagstaffe said. "I’m going to put out the reports, the use of force reports, the coroner’s report, and people can read the entire package."
Wagstaffe also said his office has moved quickly on this investigation
"Of the 58 counties, the speed with which we move in these cases is the quickest in the entire state by a long shot," he said.
The faith leaders want to see for themselves if the officers used excessive force or mishandled the situation.
"They don’t need to wait until the report is finished in January or February or whenever it’s going to be released,"
As of next July, a new California law will require law enforcement agencies to release certain investigations involving officers killing civilians within 45 days. But a district attorney could decide to take more time if releasing the material interferes with the investigation.