The family of a Victorville man who died after a San Bernardino sheriff's deputy stunned him with a Taser joined the NAACP on Tuesday to demand justice and announce a wrongful death lawsuit against the department.
Dante Parker, 36, was suspected of trying to break into a home in the 13000 block of Bucknell Court in Victorville Aug. 12 when he was shocked with a Taser by deputies during a struggle to take him into custody, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.
The confrontation happened about two miles from his own home, where he lived with his wife and five children.
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"We have hearts. We have feelings. He had a family to come home to," wife Bianca Parker said outside the NAACP offices Tuesday. "He was our provider. He was the rock of our family. I don't want to go through life being a bitter person, but I feel myself having a whole bunch of anger."
The family's lawyer said a wrongful death lawsuit against the department was in the works and would be filed soon.
"I can tell you this: a Taser is a lethal weapon," attorney Cameron Sehat said. "A Taser can kill."
Flanked by relatives on Tuesday, Bianca Parker described her husband as a hardworking man who was riding a bike last week when he got into a conflict with a deputy.
But San Bernardino County sheriff's investigators maintain that Dante Parker was seen trying to break into a home. A female deputy approached him, and she said he then became combative and aggressive.
Investigators said she used the Taser to try to subdue him and stunned him multiple times, but he continued to resist.
Another deputy arrived and helped her put handcuffs on Dante Parker, officials said.
Witness Michael Rodriguez told NBC4 the man was pulling away and kicking when they tried to handcuff him.
"All I knew, he was resisting, and I wouldn't have resisted," Rodriguez said.
A sheriff's department spokesperson said Dante Parker was sweating profusely and had labored breathing.
"Mr. Parker appeared to be under the influence of some type of substance," San Bernardino Sheriff's Cpl. Randy Naquin said.
Firefighters treated Dante Parker at the scene but he later died at the hospital.
"He shouldn't have to go out like an animal," his mother said through tears on Tuesday as the family asked for a transparent investigation.
The NAACP also called for the US Department of Justice to investigate the death.
Parker's family said the Victorville Daily Press employee did not have a problem with drugs or alcohol.
The Riverside County Coroner's Office will conduct the autopsy to determine the cause of Parker's death.