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The names of the five California sheriff deputies involved in a fight with an unarmed Black man who died after he was tasered have been released.
Chinedu Valentine Okobi, 36, of Redwood City, died after a taser was deployed during an arrest, KQED reports. Deputies claim Okobi was involved in an altercation with them after being pursued for weaving in and out of traffic. The deputies have been identified as John DeMartini, Alyssa Lorenzatti, Joshua Wang, Bryan Watt and also Sgt. David Weidner.
According to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office release, police were trying to subdue Okobi last Wednesday afternoon.
According to the San Mateo County sheriff department’s account, the five sheriff’s deputies tried to arrest Okobi but when one of the deputies got out of his vehicle Okobi “immediately assaulted” the deputy.
“They were attempting to get control of him as he resisted, and during the course of that a Taser was discharged,” said District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. “At this point we’re still investigating how many times.”
After Okobi was arrested, he stopped breathing, Wagstaffe said.
Okobi died at Mills-Peninsula Medical Center.
All five of the deputies are on paid leave, Wagstaffe said and a full report is expected in eight to 10 weeks
Okobi’s Facebook page describes him as Christian gospel recording artist who recently released several songs on the site ReverbNation.com. The site says he started recording music when he turned 17. His first album was called “Peace, Love, and Poetry.”
His biography said Okobi was a “Bay Area native, born to Nigerian parents who became naturalized American citizens.”
An autopsy of Okobi’s body is expected to be completed Friday. Wagstaffe said the findings won’t be released to the public until the district attorney issues a final report.
Activist Shaun King shared a post from Okobi’s sister sharing her thoughts about her brother’s gifts, life and struggle with mental illness.
Before I say a single word to you about #ChineduOkobi – who was a brilliant, wonderful, kind soul – and my @Morehouse brother – I want you first to read the words of Ebele Okobi about her little brother.
He was unarmed and killed by police during a routine traffic stop. pic.twitter.com/11Qbt0Lx2m
— Shaun King (@shaunking) October 15, 2018
A memorial fund to make donations to the Equal Justice Initiative in Okobi’s honor has been set up on Facebook.