Chinedu Valentine Okobi
EXCESSIVE & UNNECESSARY USE OF FORCE
Chinedu V. Okobi was murdered October 3, 2018 on El Camino Real in Millbrae by 5 San Mateo County Sheriff Deputies. One of them Sgt. David Weidner not represented DSA.
He is upset that 40 residents came and spoke at the December 4, 2018 Board of Supervisor meeting and used the M word Murder.
He is upset that the Supervisors formed a Committee on Tasers to meet Feb. 11, 2019 6-8PM in the Supervisors meeting room 1st floor of the 400 County Center Building. He is not the only one upset at the Supervisors, this Committee and subject matter is not at all important to the murder of Chinedu.
EXCESSIVE & UNNECESSARY USE OF FORCE is the only topic that is important. That is what Steve Wagstaffe, Carlos G. Bolanos, Carole Groom, Dave Pine, Don Horsley, Warren Slocum, David Canepa are all distracting the public with the Committee dog and pony show. If this “Committee on Tasers” Charade sounds familiar it should 2008 the BOS did a similar performance.
Elected county officials suspected of wrongdoing or unbecoming conduct can be investigated by a five-member ethics committee with the authority to recommend their removal, according to an ordinance unanimously endorsed yesterday by the Board of Supervisors.
The board created the independent citizens review panel on Tuesday after revisiting an earlier proposal by supervisors Jerry Hill and Adrienne Tissier. At its July 22 meeting, the board cautiously backed the idea but asked for some fine-tuning of language to avoid the panel embarking on what Supervisor Mark Church characterized as a “witch hunt” against officials.
The approved proposal defines “serious official misconduct” based on an existing San Bernadino ordinance and allows the board to determine an allegation is unfounded before calling together the review panel. The passed ordinance also suspends the panel’s investigation when necessary as not to conflict with any criminal proceedings.
Although having such a review panel will help the county deal with questionable situations if needed, the goal is to never have them arise, Hill said.
The ordinance, which still requires a second reading to become official, also can’t retroactively address the matter which sparked its formation — the April 2007 detention of Sheriff Greg Munks and Undersheriff Carlos Bolanos in an undercover brothel sting in Las Vegas.
The pair were in town for a law enforcement race and told police they mistakenly went to the raided home because they thought it was a legitimate massage parlor.
Neither was charged with a crime and the supervisors said they had no discipline authority. Approximately a year later, Hill revisited the issue of official oversight for elected county officials.
Hill and Tissier suggested an independent ethics committee as an alternative to less viable oversight ideas such as letting the Board of Supervisors remove fellow elected officials. Not even a county charter amendment gives the board authority to remove an elected official and the state constitution doesn’t allow the board to discipline an official to any less degree.
While the committee itself can’t take action, its independent nature removes the politics from the process and can spark into action the grand jury, which does have the authority to recommend an official’s removal.
The citizen’s review panel of individuals will include either retired judges, former county or city administrators, former grand juror foreperson, or former county counsels, city attorneys or district attorneys. Selection would be random and Brown Act — California’s open meeting law — requirements enforced.
The San Bernadino County charter — the one most often referenced as a San Mateo County template — allows a four-fifths vote of the Board of Supervisors to remove any other county officer for “flagrant or repeated neglect of duties,” “misappropriation of public property,” “violation of any law related to the performance of the official’s duties” or “willful falsification of a relevant official statement or document.”
While the ordinance has survived a legal challenge, it has never been used.
Here is D.J.’s recent email to the Union members.
As you all know, the District Attorney has not yet announced if he will or will not prosecute 4 of our members for the death in custody in Millbrae last October. While I’m disappointed his decision has taken so long, we are confident our members did nothing wrong and are fully prepared to defend our members if any charges are filed. The DSA stands behind our members and the actions they took that day in Millbrae. I’m confident that if the DA’s office wanted to move forward with any charges, we would prevail in court.
NOTE: I think every San Mateo County Sheriff Deputy knows the above statement by D.J. Wozniak sounds really good, but in reality look what D.J. has done for Sheriff Deputy Juan P. Lopez.
While the DA’s office weighs its options, the NAACP and the National Black Lives Matter movement have taken a particular interest in the Sheriff’s Office. They have activated their base via social media and have inundated the Board of Supervisors with thousands of calls and emails asking them to remove Tasers from San Mateo County Law Enforcement.
While I had hoped they would simply ignore these anti police activists, they have not. Unfortunately, Supervisor Pine and Groom have given these people an audience and formed a “taser committee” where they’ll will be looking into Tasers, policies surrounding them and researching deaths related to Tasers.
This is baffling because the decision to deploy Tasers is not made by the Board of Supervisors, it is the decision of the Sheriff.
The committee plans on holding a public meeting to “discuss Tasers”. The meeting is tenatively scheduled for February 11th at 1800 hours.
Once the meeting date/ time is confirmed, I will be asking all DSA members try to attend the meeting. I’m not asking you to speak or participate in the conversation as I find it unlikely that any of activists attending are open to listening to anything we have to say. We simply don’t want the entire audience to be full of anti police activists and having normal rational people in the audience will be helpful.
Here is what I have one in response to these events:
- I have had numerous conversations with Sheriff Bolanos on this issue and made it crystal clear that the DSA does not support removing Tasers from our members. The Sheriff has has told me that he supports that decision and believes in Tasers have their place in the use of force policies of the Sheriff’s Office.
- I have met with the board members individually. I have explained how valuable Tasers are to public safety. I have explained how high in the use of force continuum Tasers are and how restrictive our policy and procedures are regarding their use. I explained to them that the calls/emails they are receiving are not from people in San Mateo County. The people calling are part of the social media army of the Black Lives Matter organization and know nothing nothing about use of force issues and know nothing about Tasers and their use in law enforcement and most importantly, have no idea about the events in Millbrae resulting in the death in custody.
- Sheriff Bolanos has authorized me to create a “use of force” day for the County Manager, County Council and Board of Supervisors. Working with the training unit, we will give the BOS training on Tasers and run them through various scenarios, with and without Tasers so they can see their value in public safety.
I ask that any of you who happen to have a conversation with Sheriff Bolanos, convey your appreciation for his stance on this issue and supporting the DSA.
I will obviously keep you posted on any developments with this “Taser Committee”.
By Michael G. Stogner