Stephen Ellison

Man Dies After Struggle With Deputies in Millbrae; Family Seeks Answers

Two deputies used their Tasers on the 36-year-old multiple times, DA says

A 36-year-old man with a history of mental illness died last week after a struggle with San Mateo County deputies in Millbrae, and now his family wants answers.

Last Wednesday, Chinedu Okobi was spotted walking in and out of traffic in Millbrae before a deputy confronted him. A struggle ensued, and two deputies used their Tasers multiple times in an attempt to subdue Okobi, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

Okobi’s sister, Ebele, says surveillance video and witnesses tell a different story. Okobi was unarmed, and she wonders if police handled it properly.

"Do police officers know how to deal with people in crisis?" Ebele Okobi said. "Do police officers give black men the same dignity they give everybody else?"

She also believes her brother's race was a factor after seeing the number of unarmed black men killed by police. She says she always feared something like this might happen.

"I don’t live in America and specifically because of this," Ebele Okobi said. "I don’t have the emotional fortitude to raise a black son in America. We live in London. No place is perfect, but when my husband leaves home, I don’t worry like I do here."

Chinedu Okobi was a talented spoken word poet and devoted father, his family said. He had a history of mental illness, but it’s unclear if he was taking his medications at the time, they said.

The DA's office said the investigation in his death will take 8-10 weeks.

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