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Family of Man Killed by San Mateo Sheriff Deputy's Taser to Sue County

The family of the man who died after San Mateo County sheriff's deputies tased him last October is expected to file a lawsuit against the county on Friday.

The suit comes three months after the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office declined to press charges against five sheriff's deputies involved in the stun gun death of 36-year-old Chinedu Okobi, who was unarmed at the time of the encounter in Millbrae.

In March, the DA's office has also released a 35-minute video from the incident.

The video shows Okobi being pulled over as he was walking on the street leading to an altercation with the deputies. You can hear one of the officers yelling: "Stop resisting! Stop resisting."

They then ask him to get "on his stomach" as Okobi says: "What did I do."

Only one deputy — Deputy Wang — can be seen discharging a Taser at Okobi which hits him on the shoulder and wrist. The discharge took Okobi down but didn't keep him down. "He's a large man, as the video shows," San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe previously said. The activation time on each was five seconds or less, he said, the correct way to discharge a taser, he said.

At one point Okobi tries to escape from the deputies and punches one of them, which Wagstaffe said what was what caused the injuries on Deputy Wang's face.

Okobi's family has watched the videos and questioned whether deputies had a right to stop Okobi in the first place. They said Okobi was walking down a sidewalk, not running in and out of traffic as the sheriff's office has said.

A statement from the district attorney's office said that "while the loss of life following contact with law enforcement is a tragic and traumatic event for all those involved, we have determined based upon a review of all the evidence that the use of force by the deputies under the circumstances encountered by them on that date was lawful pursuant to the provisions of California Penal Code Section 196."

"I'm not putting out anything on his mental history out of respect for the Okobi family," San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe previously said. "This was a tragic event ... I don't want to put any blame on Mr. Okobi. I don't want to do anything to demonize the deputies or Mr. Okobi."

Okobi was the third person to die after being tased in San Mateo County last year. Another man died during an encounter with Redwood City police in August. Another person died in January during an encounter with Daly City police. No charges were filed in the Redwood City and Daly City incidents.

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