It has been two weeks since Chinedu Valentine Okobi was killed by the taser of a police officer in California. Chinedu was said to be attacked by the San Matteo officers and repeatedly tased after he was found darting and out of traffic. There has been a lot of drama, both on and off social media, over the incident just as in other cases of unarmed black men suffering similar fate at the hands of police officers in the US.
His elder sister, Ebele Okobi, who works with Facebook has demanded a probe into the manner of approach adopted by the officers during the arrest which resulted in his death. She has asked several questions in the wake of this event, “Were sheriff’s deputies trained in crisis intervention for people who are mentally ill? Why didn’t the deputies summon medical help?”
There has been an overflow of support shown towards her demands for justice by several family members and even top executives at Facebook. Notable among the top executives is Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg.
In an interview with USA Today Ebele said, “There’s a part of me that’s angry that this is the reality for everybody black I know and that people can live completely oblivious to that reality.” John Burris, the attorney representing the Okobi family said an eye witness revealed that the man was sitting on the ground with his chin to his chest. He looked unconscious and was foaming in the mouth at the time.
Ebele has claimed that she knows that only a few officers are brought to book in situations like this despite the protests and social media backlash. She has determined to use this as an opportunity to beam the flood light on practices by law enforcement and ensure that justice is served. She says she is not just after justice for her brother but she is a voice for all who have suffered such.
The Okobi family have not rescinded their decision in seeking justice and demanding answers concerning their son’s demise.