lawsuit

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 01/29/15, 11:18 AM PST | Updated: 42 secs ago

SAN BERNARDINO >> After protests, NAACP’s call for a federal investigation and stern defense of law enforcement, the family of Dante Parker filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging 10 civil rights violations from the Victorville man’s death in deputies’ custody.

Parker, 36, was riding a bike in order to improve his health, but because he matched the description of an attempted burglar he wound up being stunned with a Taser gun at least 25 times, placed face-down and denied medical care in August, according to the lawsuit, filed in San Bernardino Superior Court. The County of San Bernardino, Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff John McMahon and Deputy Kristy Irwin are named as defendants, as well as a number of other involved parties whose identities attorney Mark Eisenberg said the department has refused to release.

“There was really no reason, in the absence of his possessing or brandishing a weapon, to use the amount of force they used,” Eisenberg said by phone. “And once you get beyond the amount of force, to handle him and leave him the way they did, in a way that is almost certain to lead to his death … for what? Even the homeowner says he never entered the house. If he had, that’s not a capital offense for which one is sentenced to death.

“So why is Dante Parker dead?”

Law enforcement officials say Parker died after he became combative during an attempt to detain him.

According to the lawsuit, Irwin stopped Parker as he was riding his son’s bicycle based on a homeowner’s report that a “suspicious appearing black male tried to gain entry to her home.”

The Victorville Daily Press pressman, a father of five, was stunned with a Taser between 25 and 27 times, “hog tied,” then left on the ground face-down, despite having no weapons or tools that could have been used as weapons, the lawsuit alleges.

As Parker complained he was having trouble breathing, the lawsuit alleges, calls for medical aid were “unreasonably delayed” and paramedics arrived on scene 20 to 25 minutes later, when Parker was in an altered state of consciousness.

Parker was taken to Victor Valley Global Medical Center, where he was found to be “wholly unresponsive and in cardiac arrest.” Advanced life support measures were then used, but he died.

Sheriff’s officials confirmed they had been served with the lawsuit, but said they don’t comment on lawsuits.

Parker’s case was mentioned on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart as what Stewart presented as a “manifestation of systemic inequality and mistrust between the African-American community and the somehow always justified police-American community.” But, following criticisms by District Attorney Michael A. Ramos, Stewart apologized for being “sloppy” in including Parker in a list of fatal officer-involved shootings.

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