Category Archives: City of Millbrae

Millbrae Unarmed Jaywalker’s Death Being Investigated, Following Confrontation by Sheriff’s Deputies

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Chinedu Valentine Okobi

The results are not in question, it’s a lay-up for San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault. He knows what’s expected of him and he WILL deliver for District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe and Sheriff Carlos Bolanos, just as he has done in the past. He will shift the blame for 36-year-old Chinedu Okobi’s death to Chinedu himself, a scene played out, time after time, by Foucrault, Wagstaffe, and Bolanos.

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Coroner Robert Foucrault

He will use the term excited delirium coupled with heart attack, to explain Chinedu’s death, versus excessive and unnecessary force employed by San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies – Chinedu, an African American male who had been jaywalking, in the city of Millbrae, was repeatedly tased, pepper-sprayed, and manhandled by at least five deputies -jaywalking is an infraction normally worthy of only a ticket.

So common is the scenario, in San Mateo County, and the roles played out by Sheriff Bolanos, Coroner Foucrault, and District Attorney Wagstaffe that one can comfortably predict, with confidence, what the outcome will be.

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Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos

It’s analogous to the definition of insanity, in this case, the sheriff’s office being presented with a mentally challenged person and unwaveringly employing force resulting in death. Should Sheriff Bolanos really have anticipated a different result, given his office’s’ lack of training, vision, and direction, on how to handle such incidents? The answer is  no.

Have San Mateo County authorities learned nothing, over the years, as to how to address mentally challenged persons? Unfortunately, the answer is, again, no, the result is predictable with ominous results -they choose to immediately place themselves in harms way, confront the individual without a plan, and employ force likely to result in serious injury or death.

In the instant case, five deputies earning a minimum of $100,000 each a year plus a like amount in benefits, immediately confront and employ force against the jaywalker, meaning a million dollars a year was paid for such a bad decision. Not to mention the line supervisor, manger, executive staff, and sheriff who tolerate such results. Add to that, the county department heads (District Attorney Wagstaffe & Coroner Foucrault) who rubber stamp / rationalize them, giving them a pass and enabling future similar behavior.*

What’s worse is that those persons given the people’s’ trust, in this case Sheriff Bolanos, Coroner Foucrault, and District Attorney Wagstaffe, never address the underlying issues, poor judgement on the officers part, lack of training, and excessive & unnecessary force, relative to the situation.

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D.A. Steve Wagstaffe

This scenario was wholly avoidable and will undoubtedly be repeated, with sign-offs by the same cast of characters, Bolanos, Wagstaffe, & Foucrault. In short, there are no adults in the house, in San Mateo County, ones willing to be critical of officers and worthy of the public’s trust.

One only has to look at the history of like events, in the County, involving the very same individuals, Bolanos, Foucrault, and Wagstaffe, to see a deadly pattern:

2003-Ricky Escobedo causes a ruckus from the balcony of his ex-girlfriend’s Redwood City apartment. She calls the Redwood City Police and six officers fight with Escobedo, causing two broken bones around his throat, eight broken ribs, and internal bleeding.He dies and Coroner Foucrault reports it wasfrom cardiopulmonary arrest caused by excited delirium from a bruising struggle with officers. Carlos Bolanos was the Redwood City Police Chief, at the time, and Steve Wagstaffe the District Attorney Office’s Chief Deputy. Wagstaffe along with his boss, DA Jim Fox, determine officers did nothing wrong. Similarly, Bolanos said an internal investigation found no wrongdoing on the part of police. R.I.P. person of color Ricky Escobedo.

2005Fernando Cazarescauses a disturbance wherein his sister summons deputies, telling a dispatcher he was a crazy person on drugs. Deputies Chiltonand Peardonare dispatched to the 300 block of Second Avenue, in unincorporated Redwood City. A struggle ensues, involving bouts of pepper spray and hand-to-hand combat. Cazares strikes Chilton and, at one point, both officers strike him with their flashlights. Three other officers, deputies Mark Cody, Lisandro Lopez and Greg Pitlockrespond and together, the group continues fighting until Cazares is pushed to a car hood and cuffed. Cazares goes limp and dies. Coroner Foucrault reports the cause of Cazares’ death is cardiopulmonary arrest due to excited delirium, exaggerated by the struggle, pepper-spray inhalation and forcible restraints placed in a prone position. DA Jim Fox and Chief Deputy Steve Wagstaffe absolve deputies of any wrongdoing. R.I.P. person of color Fernando Cazares.

2014-Yanira Serrano-Garcia, 18 of Half Moon Bay, is shot and killed by sheriff’s deputy Menh Trieu, with whom she allegedly got “in a confrontation”. The family told dispatchers the woman was mentally ill, was located down the block with a knife, that she refused to put the weapon down when asked, and requested an ambulance to transport her to a hospital for help. Deputy Trieu drives right up to Serrano-Garcia, gets out of his patrol, and, fearing for his life, shoots her to death within 20 seconds of being on the scene. District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe absolves Deputy Menh Trieu of any criminal wrongdoing. R.I.P. person of color Yanira Serrano-Garcia.

As to Chinedu himself, well he is not a person who matters. District Attorney Wagstaffe has previously been criticized by the California State Appellate Court for excluding African Americans from being jurors in a capital case; Coroner Foucrault has been investigated and criticized for sexual misconduct, while in the County’s employ; and Sheriff Bolanos had been detained and questioned by the FBI, in Las Vegas, in a Human Trafficking Investigation involving indentured Asian sex slaves, at least one of whom was a minor. I mention this only to provide the reader with some context and sense of these individuals respective character and integrity.

Welcome to the San Mateo County Two-Step!

By Michael G. Stogner

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Filed under #Blacklivesmatter, #MeToo, #SanMateo, #SanMateoCountyNews, #TimesUp, 911, Chinedu Okobi, City of Millbrae, Dave Canepa, Dave Pine, John Beiers, John Burris, John Maltbie, Karen Guidotti, Michael G. Stogner, Michelle Durand, Mike Callagy, Organized Crime, Prosecutorial Misconduct, Robert Fourcrault, San Mateo County Sheriff Office, Senator Jerry Hill, Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos, Steve Wagstaffe, Tax Payer's Advocate, Those Who Matter, Victim's Advocate

San Mateo County Sheriff’s in Custody Death, Tased multiple times, Maced and jumped 5 Deputies on leave.

What evidence is there that Chinedu Okobi assaulted a San Mateo County Sheriff Deputy besides the Sheriff’s Office saying so? Release the dash camera video now. The SMCOSO and the DA’s Office always make the deceased victim look like he deserved to be killed. What this death in custody shows is the Sheriff’s Office under the leadership of Carlos Bolanos is incompetent in handling the very basic Mental Health call. Stop using Tasers they kill people.

This is how San Mateo County Law Enforcement handles Mental Health Issues.

October 3, 2018 approx 1PM Chinedu Valentine Okobi 36 died on the street in Millbrae after being tased multiple times and having mace sprayed in his face then brought to the ground by a group of San Mateo County Sheriff Deputies. The reports will say he was pronounced dead at hospital which is true but most likely he was also dead at the scene.

Mr Okobi was reported to be walking in and out of traffic on El Camino Real. He did not comply with law enforcement commands and now he is dead.

This is the same actions/result that Redwood City resident Ramsey Saad 55  R.I.P. August 13, 2018. Resisted Tased multiple times, Jumped, Dead at scene.

All Law Enforcement Officer in San Mateo County should be wearing Body Cameras.

There should a Countywide Policy on how to respond to Mental Health Issues.

Yanira Serreno Garcia R.I.P. was shot and killed by San Mateo County Sheriff Deputy within 20 seconds of arriving on scene. June 3, 2014, at 9:20 p.m It was a non emergency mental health call.

Errol Chang Shot and killed by Swat.

Update LATIMES  OCSO Deputy files false police report.

Deputy is recorded punching a suspect
O.C. officer said man had assaulted him, but attorney says footage contradicts that claim.
By Hannah Fry
An Orange County Sheriff’s Department dashcam video shows a deputy repeatedly punching a motorist in the face while arresting him for misdemeanor public intoxication this year, an action the man’s attorney calls excessive force.
Mohamed Sayem is facing a felony resisting arrest charge over a confrontation with Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies Michael Devitt and Eric Ota that turned violent in the early hours of Aug. 19. He has pleaded not guilty, according to court records.
Devitt claimed in an incident report and in an interview with his supervisor following the scuffle that Sayem assaulted him after the deputies found him intoxicated in his Jeep in a Stanton parking lot. Devitt’s accounts of the incident are contradicted by footage recorded on police dashboard cameras, Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders alleged in a motion seeking the deputies’ personnel files.
A statement Thursday from the Sheriff’s Department said “a review of the full video indicates that the deputy made every attempt to deescalate the situation and provide the subject multiple opportunities to simply provide his identification. The subject refused to do so and attempted to physically engage the deputy, during which the deputy used force appropriate for the situation.”
Neither Devitt nor Ota could be reached for comment.
The encounter unfolded when the deputies woke Sayem and and asked for his identification, which he didn’t provide. Sayem appeared to be intoxicated, was slumped over in the driver’s seat and gave “a number of partially understandable answers, statements, and insults — often chuckling and falling in the car as he delivered them,” according to court records.
Devitt placed his hand on Sayem in an effort to keep him in the vehicle after Sayem put his left leg out of the car, apparently in an effort to get out. Sayem yelled at the deputy not to touch him and tried to pull away. That’s when the scene took a violent turn.
Devitt grabbed Sayem by the left arm and pulled him out of the vehicle. The horn sounded as Sayem clung to the steering wheel with his right hand as Devitt lobbed several blows at his face.
During the third or fourth punches, Sayem lost his grip on the steering wheel and fell to the ground. After the scuffle, Sayem asked the deputies if they were going to shoot him. Devitt responds “no,” while Ota said he’d “like to.”
Sanders alleges that Devitt fictionalized key details, including Sayem’s violence, in order to justify using force to his supervisor and in a subsequent report. Details of his story also change between the first interview and the report, Sanders said.
Devitt told his supervisor that he planned to charge Sayem with felony resisting, which requires a threat or violence, because “he tried to bear hug on me.”
In his report, he doesn’t mention the bear hug. Instead, he alleges Sayem grabbed his vest and pulled on it.
“I used my left hand and pushed his face in an effort to create some space between us,” Devitt wrote. “He did not let go of my vest and continued to physically struggle. Due to his aggressive demeanor, and the fact he was already resisting, I believed Sayem was going to continue to try and physically assault me.”
The second dashcam video shows the deputies talking with supervisor Sgt. Christopher Hibbs about the incident. Devitt doesn’t mention this version of events to Hibbs, who interviewed him minutes after the incident, Sanders said.
“He unjustifiably used very significant violence against my client, and he knew he did it without justification,” Sanders said Thursday. “His answer was to make my client a felon for the rest of his life, so he doesn’t get held accountable for his act of violence.”
Sanders also questioned whether the Sheriff’s Department handled the incident properly, noting that Hibbs was charged in 2009 with felony assault and battery and felony use of a Taser for shocking a handcuffed man sitting in the back of a police car. That case eventually ended in a mistrial and was dismissed. According to reports at the time, prosecutors blamed the result on a “code of silence” among testifying deputies. Hibbs could not immediately be reached for comment.
“I think that this agency believes they have impunity,” Sanders said Thursday. “Folks are not standing up to them, and they’re not being punished. They’re completely fearless. There’s something at the core that’s very wrong with what’s going on here.”
hannah.fry@latimes.com
Twitter: @Hannahnfry

By Michael G. Stogner

 

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