Dante Parker, a 36-year-old married father of five who family and coworkers described as a hard-working "good dad" with a sense of humor, died this week after San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies stunned him multiple times with a taser.
Parker, an employee of the Victorville Daily Press, was riding his bike at around 5 p.m. Tuesday when deputies stopped him. According to the sheriff's department, he was a suspect in a local burglary. Parker was uncooperative with officers, the department says, and after the tasing, his breathing became labored and he began sweating heavily. Eventually, he was taken to Victor Valley Global Medical Center, where he died.
"My cousin was a good man, and that's hard to do when you're born into the streets of L.A. County," [Parker's cousin Ge'shun Harris] said. "(He) worked hard and took care of his kids and his wife. He would have been 37 (on Thursday). He would always tell me to keep working hard so we can ... get our family out of L.A. My cousin was a good (man) who was born into a terrible place but didn't let that stop him."
"That whole story is totally wrong; that's just not Dante," Richard Loredo, a former Daily Press pressman who worked with Parker, said Wednesday. "Dante's not a burglar ... You can see how well his kids were raised; he was a good dad. For the police department to portray him like that is ... unfair."
One man witness described Parker's struggle with deputies:
"He was ... super strong, it took about two or three guys to get his hands behind him. They went to try to get him to stand up, but he wouldn't do it. ... He kept kicking and kicking and kicking. He was very uncooperative."
Parker had no criminal record other than a 1997 DUI, and had reportedly quit drinking this year. The Sheriff's Departmen is conducting an investigation into his death, the Daily Press reports.