After a month-long investigation by the Pennsylvania state police, the Pennsylvania State University police officers’ use of force while serving a mental health warrant that resulted in the death of a Nigerian student, Osaze Osagie, on March 20, 2019, has been justified.
A report released on Wednesday, by Centre County District Attorney, Bernie Cantorna, said the officers were in a “life-and-death situation” when they first used a taser and then shot Osagie who was approaching them with a 5.16-inch steak knife.
Osagie died of multiple gunshot wounds after the confrontation at his apartment on Old Boalsburg Road. No charges will be filed against any of the officers involved in serving the warrant.
“Given the distance between Mr. Osagie and the officers and the speed at which he was moving, he had ample opportunity to seriously injure and potentially kill both officers,” Cantora said in a press conference.
“The time that Officer No. 1 shot, there was no time for any alternative means to stop a potentially deadly attack by Mr. Osagie. At the time of the incident, both officers acted consistently with their training and were justified in the use of force.”
The full report detailed the course of events that led to the Osagie’s death after his father reported him missing on March 19. Police were told he had a history of schizophrenia and probably was not taking his medication. He said Osagie’s father was concerned he would take his own life and that he had received a text message that day from Osagie.
However, his family is establishing the Osaze Osagie Memorial Scholarship for Educational Equity at Penn State to honor his life by providing support to Penn State students with mental health challenges and other disabilities.
He was the son of Sylvester and Iyunolu Osagie, longtime members of the Penn State faculty. Sylvester Osagie is director of Water-Energy-Food Systems and Faculty Fulbright Program adviser for Penn State Global Programs.
Iyunolu Osagie is an emeritus professor in the Department of English and the African Studies Program at Penn State.