William Darren Parker, of Niles, claims Niles police used excessive force when arresting him Saturday night. Police have a different view. Daily Star photo/CRAIG HAUPERT

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Niles man claims police were wrong

Published 6:40pm Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Niles man facing charges of resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer says he is not guilty of the charges and that Niles police used excessive force during his arrest Saturday night.

William Parker claims he was not resisting arrest when officers Tased him and hit him in the head repeatedly in front of his home in the 700 block of Oak Street in Niles.

Niles Police Chief Jim Millin said an internal investigation has been opened into the actions of that night, but it won’t be complete for one to two weeks.

Parker, police and witnesses have very different accounts of what happened.

The incident began when Niles police, Niles fire and Southwestern Community Ambulance Service units responded to a 911 call for a woman having a seizure at a residence in the 700 block of Oak Street.

Parker said he made the call after finding his mother seizing around 11 p.m.

Police left the scene and Parker’s mother was placed in an ambulance. Parker said he was told to follow the ambulance to the hospital, but when he backed his truck out of the driveway he saw the ambulance was still parked in the street.

Parker said he got out of his vehicle and entered the back of the ambulance to see how his mother was doing.

“I didn’t see a sign for do not enter and it wasn’t locked,” Parker said.

Upon entering, Parker was told by emergency personnel he wasn’t allowed to be in the ambulance and he needed to leave. Parker exited the ambulance.

Millin, who was not at the scene but has heard reports from police and emergency personnel who were, said Parker was being confrontational with emergency personnel.

Millin said Parker also attempted to get into the ambulance through a side door, but was told he wasn’t allowed in.

Parker then walked to the front of the ambulance and stepped on the front bumper so he could see in the ambulance.

“I needed some height to see over the hood,” Parker said. “I was concerned and wanted to see what was happening.”

Millin said when Parker stood on the bumper it caused the vehicle to shake and could have hindered emergency personnel from doing their jobs. At that point, Millin said, police were called back to the scene.

Police tried to get Parker to calm down and go into his home, but Millin said Parker refused. Millin said Parker was being profane and boisterous toward the officers. Only when officers told Parker he was under arrest for disturbing the peace, did Parker say he would go inside, Millin said.

Parker admits he was upset, but said he wasn’t being boisterous or profane.

When officers attempted to arrest Parker there was a struggle. Officers deployed a Taser on Parker, who then hit one of the officers, Millin said. That officer responded by hitting Parker, Millin said.

Parker said he did not take a swing at any of the officers. Four witnesses — neighbors Amber Young, Dave Smith, Dawn Phillips and sister Lori Watson — said they did not see Parker swing at any officers.

Parker said he was hit in the head “a few times” by a solid object while he was being detained. Young, Phillips and Smith all said they saw officers hit Parker in the head multiple times with an object they described as looking like a flashlight.

“I know there are claims that he was beat on the head five times with a Maglite. We don’t carry Maglites. We have small pelican flashlights,” Millin said. “My only statement there is if I beat somebody on the head five times I would expect their injury to be much more severe than what it is.”

Parker was taken by police to the hospital and treated for minor head wounds before being lodged at the Niles Law Enforcement Complex.

Parker received one staple in his head while at the hospital.

Parker bonded out Sunday and is awaiting arraignment Monday. He is being charged preliminarily with disturbing the peace, resisting arrest and assault on an officer.

This isn’t Parker’s first run in with the Niles City Police.

Parker was arrested in November 2011 for operating a vehicle under the influence of liquor. He was arrested in January 2003 for resisting and obstructing, and riding a snowmobile without a helmet. We do not know if Parker was convicted of any of these charges.

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