In 2018, San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a 9-1-1 call about a person walking in traffic. They arrived to find Chinedu Okobi, a 36-year-old Black man who had struggled with mental illness, ambling slowly down the sidewalk. Okobi was unarmed, and dashcam footage of the incident shows him quickly raising his hands as deputies approach.
In a matter of seconds, five officers surround Okobi in an attempt to force him to the ground. Okobi appears confused – he tells the deputies that he is lost and cries out for help. But the officers, apparently ill-equipped to help Okobi or understand his needs, respond with increasing escalations of force.