Former Alabama police officer Eric Parker will stand trial on misdemeanor charges for his alleged take-down of Sureshbhai Patel, a visitor from India who was walking around his son’s neighborhood. Parker also faces a civil suit brought about by Patel’s Indian American family.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Diya TV) — A judge has dismissed state charges against Madison police officer Eric Parker, who was accused of assaulting an Indian man while conducting an investigation in February of last year.
Limestone County District Judge Douglas Patterson dismissed the case against Parker on Thursday afternoon, after Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange filed a motion to dismiss the case, saying there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Parker was recorded by a patrol car’s dashcam during the incident which showed him slamming Sureshbhai Patel, 58, to the ground. Patel had been out for a stroll in his son’s neighborhood, and was visiting from India to witness the birth of his first grandchild. He was approached by police after a neighbor had called to reported a think black man walking around, peering into houses.
Parker’s defense has been that Patel resisted his orders, despite Patel’s claims he made the officer aware he spoke no English and didn’t understand the orders he was receiving. Patel was seriously injured during the ordeal, and was required to spend a significant amount of time at the hospital recovering from the wounds.
Two federal civil rights trials held against Parker ended in hung juries before he was ultimately acquitted. His police chief, Larry Muncey, was found in contempt of court for talking to Parker’s colleagues about their testimonies in his first trial.
Patel’s attorney, Hank Sherrod, called the state’s motion to dismiss the case against Parker an example of Alabama’s Attorney General failing to do his job.
“Instead of doing what lawyers do and using the transcripts from the failed federal criminal prosecution to craft a winning strategy to get justice for Mr. Patel, the Alabama Attorney General and the lawyers under his supervision have used those transcripts as an excuse not to do their job,” Sherrod said in a statement.
“This decision illustrates how difficult it is to hold law enforcement officers accountable under the criminal laws for brutal acts that would send an ordinary citizen to jail.”
The 27-year-old Parker still faces a federal civil trial, but his attorney described his and his client’s relief that the criminal charges have been put behind them.
“This would have been the same case yet again just in different venue. It is time to admit that enough is enough and move on,” Tuten said in a statement.
“We all feel sorry for Mr. Patel and hate that he was injured. Parker was just a young inexperienced officer trying to do an impossible job the best he could.”