Vigil held for anniversary of man tased to death by sheriff's deputies

A vigil was held on Thursday night in San Mateo County for 36-year-old Chinedu Okobi who died one year ago after sheriff deputies used a Taser stun gun on him.

Okobi went into cardiac arrest following a confrontation with deputies. Loved ones said few reforms have been done since his death.

"We want people to not forget him and to remember," said Mother Amaki Okobi. "He has not gotten justice."

Back on October 3, 2018, Okobi was confronted by sheriff's deputies who stopped the 36-year-old as ran in and out of traffic on El Camino Real. His family said he was having a mental breakdown at the time.

Video released by the sheriff's office showed the violent struggle that ensued after Okobi tried to run away. A deputy deployed a Taser. The district attorney's office ultimately cleared the deputies.

"Have you watched the video?," said Regina Islas of the "Justice for Chinedu" group. "I can't agree with that at all. There was no justification."

Since Okobi's death, activists have called for a ban on Tasers in the county. Okobi was the fourth person who died in 2018 after being tased by law enforcement in San Mateo County.

The sheriff has said Tasers are necessary to protect deputies. The department is working on a new use of force and Taser policy. Loved ones said it doesn't go far enough.

"The new policy states a deputy can only fire three times but we know from Reuters, one Taser shot is enough to kill somebody. In Chinedu's case, there were seven shots," said Family Friend Kate Amoo-Gottfried.

Some reforms have been instituted including implicit bias training for officers and defibrillators in patrol cars. Activists want a citizen advisory committee and more transparency.

"It's important so they will stop killing people," said Amaka Okobi. "Before they kill, they will think. They will be held accountable. There's no accountability."

KTVU reached out to the Sheriff's Office but did not hear back.