We had a few mainstream media outlets and one independent media outlet come to the Victorville rally for justice for Dante Parker. The San Bernardino Sun, the Victorville Daily Press (where Mr. Parker was employed), and an AP reporter all came with their photographers. We had about 30 people, total, as people came and went. Our carpool was full of people from "down the hill," as they say up there, and there were a few other people who came from our area, but most of the folks who showed up were from the High Desert and had heard about the protest on the news, on facebook, from friends, or happened to see it while driving by and stopped to join us. I'll post up what I can find here, as as more reports roll in, I'll likewise post them. Much appreciation and respect for all the people who came out, who showed love by honking as they drove by, or who expressed support from afar! Justice for Dante Parker!
First the article from the San Bernardino Sun (which also ran in the Daily Bulletin):
Community groups, residents gather at sheriff’s Victorville station to protest police brutality
By Grace Wong, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
POSTED: 08/20/14, 8:49 PM PDT | 4 COMMENTS
VICTORVILLE >> Benjamin Wood, 33, of Montclair pulled out more than 40 well-worn posters from his car trunk and began handing them out to people standing in front of the sheriff’s station on Wednesday evening. On them were slogans like “STOP Police Violence NOW” and “From Ferguson to Victorville END Police Murder!”
A crowd was gathered there to protest the death of Dante Parker, 36, of Victorville, who was stunned multiple times with a Taser on Aug. 12 following an altercation with a female deputy and died shortly afterward while in custody.
“The statistics are that the black community is dealt with differently than other communities,” said Thomas Lee, 41, who was representing High Desert Black Heritage Center and Trubian Village, both advocacy organizations. “We just want things to be fair and just. Being in a democratic society you have to come out and support your interests. ... Could the encounter have been done in a way that life could have been preserved? We always have the police account and unfortunately, we do not have the gentleman’s account, so that’s where the gray area is.”
The small crowd, which grew to about 30 people, made up for their size with their volume, yelling “Justice for Dante! Jail killer cops!” and “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” A megaphone was passed around and protesters yelled at drivers passing by, saying “God says ‘Thou shalt not kill!’”
The protest was organized by CopsWatch IE, headed by Wood and Meghann Horton, 29, of Riverside.
“We just want to raise awareness,” Horton said. “We’d like justice and for the cops that did this to be investigated and to stop police brutality.”
Others came for more personal reasons, including Beth Sheppard, who has a son who is black.
“It kind of just rings true,” Sheppard said. “If this guy was just trying to go home from work and that’s what was happening, then I want to know what really happened. So I can assure my son that he can go to work and not worry about the same thing. I just think everything needs to come out. The whole truth.”
Pearl Smith, 46, who lives just three blocks away from the sheriff’s station and heard about the protest from a friend, already was yelling while pulling up into the parking lot of the station. When she joined the rest of the group, she continued her exhortations.
“That could have been my child,” Smith said. “I felt there was a need for me to come down and be a part of this. It’s not what I heard, it’s what I see. These cops are very prejudiced. They pick on these kids, stop people, black young men for no reason. They treat them bad. It’s not just toward black people, it’s toward white people too. The cops feel like they are better than other people because they have a gun and they have a badge. That’s how they feel. I got a lot to say. That’s why I came here today because I’m tired of this. ...”
From the Victorville Daily Press:
DANTE PARKER DEATH
UPDATE: Handful of protesters gather at Sheriff’s Station
Group calls for ‘justice for Dante’
Posted Aug. 20, 2014 @ 6:36 pm
Updated Aug 20, 2014 at 8:32 PM
VICTORVILLE • A sparse but vocal crowd of protesters gathered in the cool evening air Wednesday in front of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Victorville Station, chanting “Justice for Dante!” and “No justice, no peace. No racist police!”
Roughly 15 to 20 protesters held signs and yelled through megaphones in support of Dante Parker, a 36-year-old father of five who died last week after a sheriff’s deputy stunned him multiple times with a Taser. Parker’s death is under investigation, and autopsy results have yet to be released.
An Inland Empire police accountability group called CopWatch IE organized the protest with the intent to “get justice for Dante Parker,” according to their website.
“This is the first time we’ve been in the High Desert for police violence,” said Benjamin Wood, a CopWatch IE member and Montclair resident. “We were afraid no one was going to speak out and it would get swept under the rug. If groups don’t demand change, nothing will happen. ... Police accountability is a big part of social change.”
Only a handful of people had arrived by the planned 6 p.m. start time, but the crowd grew to about 15 as the sun began to set at about 6:45 p.m. As more protesters arrived, chants got louder and the group spread from the sidewalk into the roadway on Amargosa Road.
One passionate protester began shouting, “The Bible says, ‘Thou shall not kill,’ ” as she stepped off the curb.
There were no reports of violence and no interaction between the protesters and sheriff’s deputies.
Among the protesters was Phelan resident Beth Sheppard, who has an African-American son who, she said, has been a victim of stereotyping by police.
“He’s an Army veteran who’s served two tours, he’s just trying to do the right thing,” Sheppard said. “He’s been stalked numerous times, and stopped and it’s always like, ‘Oh, you’re speeding,’ and he tells me, ‘I wasn’t speeding or anything, I was just going to work.’ ”
Sheppard said she decided to come and protest because she said the community deserves to know the truth.
“It’s always something, he’s always telling me how he has been stopped for something,” Sheppard said.
Other members of the group expressed that they wanted a community accountability board to hold police and sheriff’s deputies to a standard and provide oversight.
“It’s time; we’ve all got to stand up,” said Eli West, a community activist from Victorville. “We have to stop waiting to do something until it happens to us, we have to stand up for everyone. There needs to be a bridge between the police department and the community.”
Sheriff’s officials said Parker was a suspect in an attempted burglary in a Victorville neighborhood. A news release from the department said Parker was non-compliant with deputies and appeared to be under the influence of an unknown substance.
Meanwhile, family members claim Parker was not on drugs and wouldn’t have been attempting to commit a burglary. Parker had worked at the Daily Press since 2006, first as a dock worker and then as a pressman.
A toxicology report has yet to be completed.
The VVPD article also features a decent video (http://bcove.me/lij0eg7v) and photo gallery (http://www.vvdailypress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Site=VV&Date=20140820&...).
Please check them out!