Spoke to Dante Parker’s cousin on Twitter a few days ago and the autopsy report is still pending. Rumor of a second demonstration has been floating around– and his cousin verified that a demonstration was planned for today, but I was unable to determine the exact location of the event, so was forced to sit this one out. Still waiting to hear whether it actually happened, how it went and when the autopsy is expected to be released.
For those of you unfamiliar with this story, Parker died while in the custody of the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department after being tased during his arrest. The entire ordeal holds much mystery for Parker’s family, friends and employees of the local newspaper where he worked as a pressman. All of these people tout him as a devoted family man and a law abiding citizen.
He was arrested under suspicion of trying to break into someone’s home by entering a front door during broad daylight with the occupants inside. In the comments section of an article detailing the arrest, someone named Dominick David Allen claims to be that homeowner and shares that Parker seemed to be angry after being asked if he needed help and refused access to the home. Here are a few of his comments copied from that article:
As I stated I was there. I was at the door making sure he didn’t get in. Making sure my mother and 3 year old nephew was ok. So no, I didn’t just sit back and watch. I was protecting my family. I didn’t not want to open the door. I tried asking him if he was ok and does he need anything. But he ignored me and kept pulling at my screen door trying to get in. ~Dominick David Allen
Later in that same article, Allen expounds a bit further when speaking to Parker’s family and friends who chimed in on the comments. Here’s what he said to them:
No ma’am. I asked him 2 questions. Very nicely too. If he would have asked for help I would have been more than glad to extend my hand for help. But his behavior and actions lead me to believe that he seemed more on the aggressive side. As he walked away he was tearing roses off my mothers plants and kicking them. Nothing at all showed me he needed help. It was in fact, the opposite. And I just wanna say to the family members. I am sorry for your loss. I truly am. I’m not judging this man. I reacted to his actions. My heart goes out to the family and friends affected. ~Dominick David Allen
Now, certainly, no one can blame Allen for calling the police. Someone tries to enter my front door and destroys my property, I’d do the same. But questions abound as to whether or not Parker was the person who actually committed the act and, if so, why he’d do such a thing and then there’s question over the amount of force used during his arrest. This last one, of course, is the real question and the one that is currently under investigation.
Some armchair experts have even speculated that Parker may have had an undiagnosed blood sugar issue which may have caused him to act erratically and be confused about his whereabouts.
Then, of course, there’s all sorts of controversy about the use of tasers, in general:
One medical expert, Dr. Douglas Zipes, a cardiologist and electro-physiologist at Indiana University, called the Taser weapon’s connection to heart attack’s “obvious.”
He has testified for plaintiffs in Taser death lawsuits against law enforcement agencies and authored articles on their danger.
“It’s obvious to me that Taser electric shocks can make the heart stop,” Zipes said. He said a tasered person’s heart can race from 400 to 600 beats a minute and send them into cardiac arrest. (via: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/other/are-tasers-too-deadly-be-called-non-lethal-f8C11077668)
Who knows what really happened on that fateful day? Who knows why or even if a fully employed, married, father and beloved friend to so many died while in police custody? All we do know is that an unarmed citizen died shortly after interacting with police officers.
Dante Parker Isn’t the Only Person Killed By Police Recently
Consider this rather chilling timeline:
July 17, 2014 ~ Eric Garner is killed in New York when an officer decided to use a previously banned choke-hold on him after trying to arrest him for selling cigarettes. Garner was unarmed and his death has since been credibly deemed a homicide…even though his killer has yet to be arrested…or fired.
August 5, 2014 ~ John Crawford was killed by police inside an Ohio Walmart after being spotted with an air gun (some reports say a BB gun) he’d gotten off of a store shelf where they are sold. Crawford was on the phone at the time of his death and, according to the family’s attorney, the store’s surveillance video shows no indication that Crawford even knew the police were approaching him before he was gunned down. It has also been reported that the person who called 9-1-1 to report a man waving a gun has since recanted that statement and says that Crawford was not threatening anyone. This case is also under investigation.
August 9, 2014 ~ Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri was killed by police officer Darren Wilson after being stopped and ordered to stop walking in the middle of the street. Witnesses insist that Brown was chased by the officer who fired shots as he attempted to flee– also that his hands were in the air (indicating surrender) at the time that he was shot. A medical examiner has stated that one wound, probably the fatal one, entered the top of Brown’s head which may further suggest that he was in a non-threatening position at the time of his death.
August 11, 2014 ~ Ezell Ford was killed by police after being stopped in Los Angeles while walking down the street. His mother witnessed the shooting and maintains that her son was shot in the back after being ordered to lie on the ground.
August 14, 2014 ~ Dante Parker, the subject of this post, was killed in Victorville.
In just under one month, that’s five unarmed men killed by police. And, yes, I’m calling Crawford “unarmed” since he was shopping at a store where air rifles were sold, selected (an unloaded) one he, presumably, intended to buy and was killed before he made it to the register, so don’t trip…all five were unarmed! And that’s just in one month. There have been more since Parker’s death, such as the most recent, Darrien Hunt, who was allegedly shot in the back after being stopped on the sidewalk by police in Saratoga Springs, Utah.
There Will Be Blood
I’m of the firm believe that a lot more killings will occur if we don’t take a close look at the ways in which officers are interacting with civilians and the choices they are making in using force against unarmed citizens.
I could go on for days about that and undoubtedly will in the future. For now, let’s just say I’ve had enough and, hopefully, you have, too.
Justice For Dante Parker!
Here’s an article detailing an earlier protest for Dante Parker: http://www.vvdailypress.com/article/20140820/NEWS/140829983/0/SEARCH
My videotaped comments at that event: http://www.tout.com/m/ax23bc
More footage of that protest: http://bcove.me/lij0eg7v
It’s my opinion that everyone is justified in their anger over all of the deaths which have occurred recently and in times past. While many choose to demonstrate their anger at police under the assumption of wrongdoing, my position is that departments nationwide need to be investigated. These types of things happen far too often for us to continue believing that all of these unarmed people are charging at armed officers and lunging for their weapons. It’s an age-old tired scenario too often offered as an excuse for these types of incidents and it has to stop. Nothing speaks to the common lie that officers tell than this video where a man in New Jersey was cleared by a dashcam video which clearly shows police deliberately lying about a man trying to take a weapon. Watch and weep: http://7online.com/archive/9440401/
I do not believe that departments should investigate themselves, either, but that outside agencies and citizen review boards should be in place to perform those duties, instead. Internal Affairs departments typically directed to investigate such cases are also suspect. If you watched the video on the preceding link, you’ll see that IA investigated that incident and found nothing wrong.
Also, as with New York’s police department, officers everywhere need to be retrained on their use of force, how to apply it and, most importantly, when. Every situation…even resisting arrests…should not result in someone’s death.
I may have missed this weekend’s protest, but here’s an article about how it went: http://www.vvdailypress.com/article/20140920/NEWS/140929979/12964/NEWS