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Mistrial Declared In Case Of Alabama Officer Who Badly Injured Indian Man

Former Madison, Ala., police officer Eric Parker walks out of the federal courthouse this week. He was accused of using excessive force against Sureshbhai Patel, a visitor from India who testified he didn't understand commands given in English.
Former Madison, Ala., police officer Eric Parker walks out of the federal courthouse this week. He was accused of using excessive force against Sureshbhai Patel, a visitor from India who testified he didn't understand commands given in English.

A judge declared a mistrial Friday in the case of an Alabama police officer who faced one charge of violating an unarmed Indian man's civil rights by throwing him to the ground and leaving him partially paralyzed during a February encounter in the city of Madison.

The Huntsville, Ala., jury could not reach a consensus on the charge against 26-year-old officer Eric Parker. According to KCTV, both sides have 70 days to retry the case, which the prosecution intends to do.

In February, AL.com reported that 57-year-old Sureshbhai Patel's injuries required surgery after Parker threw him to the sidewalk.

"Parker and other officers approached Patel, who was taking a walk on the morning of Feb. 6 near his son's Hardiman Place Lane home, after a neighbor called police to report a suspicious 'skinny black guy' walking in the neighborhood. Patel, who spoke little English, was walking on the public sidewalk when the officers arrived.

"Dash cam footage shows Parker and another policeman approach Patel. Parker, while holding the older man's arms behind his back, is seen slamming Patel face-first into the ground and falling on top of him."

As the Two-Way reported previously, Parker was indicted on one charge of using unreasonable force and a federal grand jury decided there was enough to bring formal charges.

"'Parker's actions deprived the man in Madison of his right under the U.S. Constitution to be secure from unreasonable seizures, which includes the right to be free from unreasonable force by someone acting under color of law,' according to a March Justice Department press release.

"Patel had been in the U.S. for a couple of weeks helping to care for his new grandson when he was stopped by two officers.

"Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley apologized to the government of India for the incident in February.

" 'Please accept our sincere apology to your government, Mr. Patel and the citizens of India who reside and work in our state,' he wrote."

Parker also faces a misdemeanor assault charge in state court, although that case is pending until the federal civil rights case is resolved.

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