DA says law tilts toward law enforcement

Tony Serrano, left, brother of shooting victim Yanira Serrano, greets San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe before a community meeting in 2014. Wagstaffe did not charge the deputy who shot Yanira Serrano. Review file photo

Tasers, batons, pepper spray. Three minutes, five deputies and a black man dead at the hands of police. Chinedu Okobi’s case sparked outrage in Millbrae and across San Mateo County in 2018 as the public demanded that District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe prosecute the involved officers. He didn’t.

“What this decision shows to us, to our family — it tells us that we are not safe in San Mateo County,” Ebele Okobi, Okobi’s sister, said at a news conference at the time. “And if you’re black or mentally ill, or if you need help, you could be electrocuted to death by those who are meant to protect and serve.”

(6) comments

Cid Young

I have heard that modifying Police Practices or holding them to a Higher Account is often opposed strongly by a very influential and powerful Police Union, so perhaps that is part of the reason District Attorneys such as Wagstaffe don’t do much more than “ investigate, until the heat blows over, then give a shrug and an exoneration statement after-the-fact. I would like to see the HMB Review reporter do a follow-up interview with Don Horsley the Former Elected head of the SMC Sheriff’s Department, who retired as Sheriff, before he ran for Supervisor. He might have some insight, as to why they are never prosecuted.

uffish thought

Supervisor and prior Sheriff Don Horsely proved his first allegiance is to his friends in the Sheriff's Department; you cannot expect to get unbiased commentary from such a loyalist.

Horsely was instrumental in appointing Carlos Bolanos to Sheriff Munks' position, thus avoiding an election that would certainly have publicized how Bolanos and Munks were caught in an FBI sting operation inside an illegal, sex slave trafficking brothel.

When cops cover for each other's crimes (and meddle with the election process), they commit the even worse crime of denying citizens justice.


"In a joint letter to the board, Reps. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, and Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park, urged the supervisors to conduct a search for Munks’ replacement. Doing so, they said, would alleviate the perception that the sheriff stepped down before his term ended in 2018 to clear a path for his right hand man.

"But the board voted 3-2 to go ahead with the appointment. Supervisors Adrienne Tissier, Don Horsley and Warren Slocum argued [for] Bolanos ... Supervisors Carole Groom and Dave Pine dissented."

John Charles Ullom

A San Mateo Sheriff's Sergeant got drunk, drove, crashed into a tree, and refused to take a breathalyzer test. The Sergeant never appeared in court. During a backroom conference between the Judge, the DA, and the Defense Attorney worked out a deal. There was no court reporter present so there is no transcript. In exchange for a plea to Driving on "Wet Pavement Reckless", the Sergeant received Twelve hours of community service and $1600 in court fees. In two years he can get his record expunged. He avoided a conviction for DUI.


Wagstaff does not hold officers to the same standard he holds YOU.

Dan Stegink

Maybe it's time to start giving cops who don't kill anyone $750 bonuses twice a year and a $1000 annual bonus to everyone in a departments that doesn't kill anyone in custody.

Would be cheaper than paying Civil Rights Attorney John Burris $6.7M every time our departments kill someone.

Every production floor in California has signs similar to "182 days since last fatality" on it.

Maybe it's time our Police and Sheriff's departments had similar reminders.


Werd up


Defund police departments, or make the job so undesirable that no one in their right mind would want to be a police officer, Better yet allow previously prosecuted and convicted criminals to become police officers that way they have a better understanding of the person that they are arresting, dealing with. Make sense? Believe me most of those that complain about the police have it much better then if private civilians Decide to take the law into their own hands. Be prepared for what you are wishing for. Do you want accountability? How about accountability for those that break the law. There was a time when no one wanted to get thrown in jail why? Because jail sucked.

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