Stephen Ellison

Family Calls For Moratorium on Tasers After Peninsula Man Dies in Struggle With Deputies

Two deputies used their Tasers on the 37-year-old father multiple times, DA says

The family of a Peninsula man who died last week after being Tasered multiple times by sheriff's deputies is calling for a moratorium on law enforcement's use of the stun guns.

In Millbrae on Tuesday night, family and friends of Chinedu Okobi gathered for a community vigil for the 37-year-old father, who died last Wednesday after a San Mateo County sheriff's deputy confronted him as he allegedly ran in and out of traffic.

Okobi's family says he has a history of mental illness, and they are demanding answers.

"Tell us how many times that Taser was used because if you use a Taser too much, you can trigger a cardiac arrhythmia," family attorney John Burris said.

The sheriff’s office said, "the suspect immediately assaulted the deputy," who then called for backup, and a Taser was used.

Burris on Tuesday said after a private memorial service that surveillance video the family viewed tells a different story.

"The use of force, including the Taser, was disproportionate to what he had in fact actually done," Burris said.

The family wants deputies to keep their Tasers in their holsters, saying the sheriff’s office needs to train them better on how and when to use them. Burris added that the deputies should have been trained in how to handle someone with a mental illness.

It’s unclear if Okobi was taking medication for his condition at the time of the incident.

The sheriff’s office said the five deputies involved are on paid leave during the investigation, which could take up to 10 weeks.

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