Two juries have been unable to decide whether an Alabama police officer violated an Indian man's civil rights during a violent takedown that left him unable to walk. A third one isn't going to get the chance.
AL.com reports a federal judge ruled Wednesday that there was insufficient evidence to justify a third trial against Madison, Ala., cop Eric Parker who is charged with excessive force against 57-year-old Indian citizen Sureshbhai Patel.
"The Government has had two full and fair chances to obtain a conviction; it will not have another," Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala wrote in a 92-page decision.
The charges center around an encounter between Parker and Patel at the Madison, Ala., home of Patel's son last February. Patel, who does not speak English, was visiting his family to help care for his grandson. Parker and other Madison police were dispatched after a neighbor called to complain that a "skinny black guy" was "just kind of walking around close to the garage.
Video of the incident recorded by a police cruiser's dashboard camera shows Parker and another officer standing close to Patel when Parker suddenly slams the older man to the ground.
Parker maintains the takedown was a result of Patel jerking his hands away from him, leading him to think the man might be going for a weapon. Parker also twice testified the takedown was because he "lost his balance and fell."
Patel ended up needing extensive surgery to repair damage to his spine. AL.com reports his doctor testified in the trial that Patel was unable to walk or grip his hands as the result of his injuries.
At the time of Patel's injury, a spokesperson for the Indian government said it was "extremely disturbed" by the incident, according to The Guardian. The Madison Police Department fired Parker and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley issued a letter of apology to both India and the Patel family.
Parker still faces misdemeanor assault charges in Limestone County. Patel has filed a civil lawsuit against Parker and the city of Madison. Court records indicate that lawsuit was put on hold in September pending the results of the criminal case.
As part of her ruling, Judge Haikala wrote that "If Mr. Parker or Mr. Patel could take that time back, both would surely do things differently and avoid the events that have forever changed both of their lives."
Mr. Patel surely regrets his decision to stand outside his son's house.