Following up on the NAACP's involvement in this case, the San Bernardino chapter of the NAACP is joining the call for justice. Today the SB Sun printed a more lengthy summary of the press conference, as well as including some of the comments from Mr. Parker's widow. Here is the link:
NAACP calls for accountability in Dante Parker’s police custody death
By Grace Wong, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
POSTED: 08/19/14, 10:51 AM PDT | UPDATED: 11 HRS AGO 6 COMMENTS
Dante Parker’s mother, Deltra McCoy, right, is comforted by her granddaughter, Dantazha Parker, 17, left, and nephew, Andre Willingham during a news conference on Tuesday in Victorville. Micah Escamilla — staff photographer
VICTORVILLE >> The president of San Bernardino’s branch of the NAACP on Tuesday called for the federal government to take over the investigation into the death of a man who died in the custody of sheriff’s deputies after being stunned by a Taser several times, calling it a case of excessive police force.
“This family should not be made to wait for justice,” said A. Majadi, president of the San Bernardino branch of the NAACP. “It should be swift, just as swift as it was to take the life of a man who was going home to his family.”
Majadi was joined at a news conference Tuesday morning at the Victorville NAACP office by the family of Dante Parker, 36, of Victorville, who died while receiving medical treatment at Victor Valley Global Medical on Aug. 12, according to authorities.
“Let’s not procrastinate. Let’s not play games. Let’s insist upon answers immediately and accountability. I also call upon the Department of Justice to intervene, to come to Victorville and to oversee the investigation to ensure that this family receives efficient and effective investigations made for the loss of their loved one.”
Parker was stunned multiple times with a Taser gun following an altercation with a female deputy in the 13000 block of Bucknell Court. San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene after a report that a man was attempting to break into a residence in the Bucknell Court neighborhood. A resident identified Parker as the suspect, and the deputy chased after him, ultimately getting into an altercation about a mile from Parker’s home, according to witnesses.
That’s when the deputy Tasered Parker — multiple times, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
When more deputies arrived, they struggled for several more minutes before handcuffing him and putting him in a squad car. A sheriff’s statement said Parker began sweating and had difficulty breathing. He died while being treated at Victor Valley Global, according to the document.
“The investigation is ongoing and I think we released a fairly detailed press release about the incident and the sequence of events that occurred that day and due to the ongoing investigation, that is the extent of the information that we can release at this time,” said Cindy Bachman, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Department. “Whenever we have an in-custody death or officer-involved shooting, the autopsy is done in Riverside County and that is a part of the ongoing investigation and that will not be released because the entire investigation, including the autopsy, will be submitted to the District Attorney for review.”
At the news conference Tuesday, leaders, lawyers and loved ones were critical of the department’s response, as the Parker family opened up about their grieving.
“The evidence will show in this case that this did not happen as the deputies described it,” said Cameron Sehat, attorney for Parker’s family. “Dante was not resisting and was not combative. The evidence will further show that the amount of force, specifically the application of the Taser, in the manner in which Dante was restrained was unnecessary, unreasonable and excessive.”
Others called for more transparency, referring to the larger context of what’s happening in Ferguson, Mo., where the police shooting of an unarmed teenager has sparked riots and mistrust over alleged police abuse.
“We are asking for transparent accountability as to what happened to Mr. Parker’s encounter with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies and how and why did Mr. Parker die in their custody,” said Samuel Carl Jr., president of the Victor Valley NAACP during the news conference. “While this instance regarding Mr. Parker’s death is heartbreaking and all the questions and answers have yet to be known, we also stand here today with the realization that African-Americans are dying at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve the community in record numbers.”
No lawsuit has been filed in the case, but Sehat was not ruling out the possibility.
Meanwhile, Parker’s family — including his five children — have been left with questions and tears.
On Tuesday, Bianca Carlisle Parker, Dante Parker’s wife, read from a birthday card she had written to Dante Parker for his birthday, which would have been celebrated last Thursday. The card thanked him for his laughter, presence and smile.
“He was everything to us,” Bianca Parker said after she finished reading the bright yellow birthday card. “Monday and Tuesday were his off days and we would get upset when he had to go to work. The kids would say, ‘Aw, dad you have to go to work?’ He was just the spirit of the house. We would stay up and wait for him to come home. Movie nights on Fridays. He was the best.”
Dante Parker worked as a pressman for the Victor Valley Daily Press.
Bianca Parker said since her husband’s death, her youngest son, 6-year-old Dan’te Parker, has asked every morning “Why all black men have to die?”
“He was our provider, he was the rock of our family,” she said, beginning to sob. “And I don’t want to go through life being a bitter person but I feel myself having a whole bunch of anger and I’m not an angry person. I’m very forgiving, and it’s not right. He taught me how to be a better person. He taught me how to not be prideful. He taught me how to apologize to people. We’ve known each other since we were 13. This is not just some dude off the street. He was a loving, caring father.”
Others added that there should be a mandate to have deputies wear cameras on their bodies so that better documentation could be established, leading to more transparency and accountability.
A funeral has been planned for Saturday at Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles at 11 a.m. and is open to the public.