Chinedu Okobi R.I.P.
UPDATE: Missing from the above photo is Community Service Officer Joseph Gonzales. He is also not identified by the District Attorney’s Office as a person involved in the take down of Chinedu V. Okobi you will see him at the 6:38 mark of the DA’s video product released to the public on March 1, 2019.
The forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy, Thomas W. Rogers, said Okobi died of a heart attack and listed electrocution by Taser as a contributing factor. Rogers determined the death was a homicide. Wagstaffe chose not to charge the 6 San Mateo County Employees involved.
District Attorney’s Video You will also see Evidence Tampering @ 11:04 mark
With the repeated application (shocks) of two separate tasers, oleoresin Capsicum (OC) spray, and force delivered by five adult males, isn’t it reasonably likely serious injury or death would occur? Couldn’t such an eventuality have been foreseen? The answer to both those questions is quite obvious, of course it is!
And District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe who has yet to conclude his investigation is now publicly questioning the “efficacy” of the taser, really Steve? With its repeated use, in the manner described, the taser is and was a deadly weapon. And for the deputies involved to have used it, in such a manner, is and was, most likely, manslaughter. Just like the misuse of a baton, flashlight, or any other instrument, such actions have consequences. Were the deputies trained to apply a taser, in such a repeated manner? Of course not. Were they trained to apply it repeatedly, in conjunction with oleoresin Capsicum (OC) spray, and physical force? Again, no.
The larger issue, now, is whether or not District Attorney Wagstaffe and his office can be relied upon to be objective and render credible findings. His questioning the “efficacy” of the two tasers used, rather than the manner and circumstances under which they were deployed by deputies, should be the real issue. In other words, DA Steve Wagstaffe speaking of product liability versus the actions and respective responsibilities of the deputies involved, before the conclusion of any investigation, speaks volumes about his lack of objectivity in the matter.
Could it be the graphic video which has surfaced, one apparently depicting deputies tasing Chinedu, applying force, and his attempting to flee, motivated Steve to float his product liability theory? Can the public trust the results of an investigation conducted by an individual so biased? The answer is no.
History of bias
In 2007 DA Wagstaffe came to the aid of Bolanos, when he (Bolanos) and his boss, Sheriff Greg Munks, has been detained by the FBI and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, at an illegal Las Vegas brothel. The site featured Asian indentured sex slaves, at least one of whom was minor, and a cache of ecstasy drugs. In a sign of solidarity and excusing the duo’s behavior, Wagstaffe wrote them an email expressing his support and characterizing them as persons who mattered. He even renewed his excuse of the two’s behavior, reaffirming his role as both a sycophant & enabler, two years ago, in a televised interview by a local news reporter.
Wagstaffe’s bias has not been limited to shilling for Bolanos. It has extended to other county officials as well. When San Mateo County Transit executives were found to have diverted over two and a half million dollars of public monies through fraud to accounts controlled by themselves, Wagstaffe was quick to attribute the crimes to bad accounting practices. He had one of his deputies, assistant deputy district attorney Al Serrato, a former FBI agent (emphasis former), be the face of such an absurd assertion, that a Criminal conspiracy involving county executives involving multiple counts of fraud (fraudulent debits used to divert millions of dollars of public monies for unintended / unauthorized use) amounted to merely bad accounting practices. Such an absurd assertion by Wagstaffe & Serrato amounted to victimizing the public for a second time -not to mention the insult to our intelligence and violation of the public trust.
Given Wagstaffe’s demonstrated bias towards Bolanos, he should recuse himself, his agency, and refer the matter to the State Attorney General for investigation. He should also immediately release the described video depicting deputies confrontation with Chinedu to the public, in order to be completely transparent. The best thing for this sort of situation is sunlight.
History of untruthfulness
There is NO Statement by Sheriff Carlos Bolanos on the Death of Chinedu Okobi. Why?
In November of 2014, Supervisor Don Horsley told KPIX 5 that Sheriff Greg Munks informed him two department machine-guns had been used for spare parts, the sheriff’s office had quietly told state officials, five months earlier, they had been stolen. I asked Don Horsley what method of communication did Sheriff Munks make that alleged statement. Supervisor Horsley refused to respond to that question.
Clearly, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and others cannot be trusted & relied upon to either tell the truth nor protect the public’s safety -two machineguns in the hands of thieves presents the very real possibility of a mass casualty event.
Possibility of positional asphyxia
In Chinedu’s death, a separate digital image (above) taken by a bystander witness raises the issue of positional asphyxia, at the hands of deputies. It depicts Chinedu face down being restrained prone, on the ground, with, what appears to be, one officer with a knee bearing down on his back while two other officers bear down on his thighs / legs. It also appears to show a collapsible baton laying on the ground just feet from Chinedu. It’s presence raises the possibility Chinedu may have been struck with a baton by deputies, during the event.
One wonders if the medical examiner performing Chinedu’s autopsy has been informed of and shown the described videos and photos, in assessing the manner & cause death? Knowing Steve and his shop, probably not -it would appear inconsistent with the narrative he is obviously trying to present.
By Michael G. Stogner