Officer Parker testified twice that he did not tackle the man, just lost his balance and fell.
Alabama – After two juries failed to convict Officer Eric Parker, who had been facing up to 10 years in prison for using excessive force, a federal judge has nixed a third attempt to try the civil rights case against the officer. The trials ended with a jury split along race and gender lines. Ten white males pushed to acquit and two black female jurors pushed for guilty.
Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala threw out the case late Wednesday, saying in a 92-page opinion “The Court has no reason to expect a different result in a subsequent trial given the totality of the evidence that the parties have provided.” Judge Haikala noted in her ruling that Patel committed a misdemeanor by leaving his home without identification and that he should have known some basic English.
In the incident that was captured on police dash-cam, Eric Parker uses a foot sweep slam maneuver on 58-year-old Sureshbhai Patel to throw him head first to the ground. Patel was left partially paralyzed, unable to walk and required spinal surgery from the assault.
58-yr-old Patel was on vacation from India and taking a walk around his son’s new home last February when he was stopped and questioned by Parker and an officer-in-training. The officers were in the area because of a report about a suspicious black person. Videos from two police car dash-cams show that Patel is clearly unable to speak English and answer the questions. He points and tries to walk in the direction of his son’s home. After partially restraining Patel, Parker slams him to the ground with his hands behind his back.
Parker was fired from the department and charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor state charge. An FBI investigation into the incident led to the now nullified civil rights case. Police Chief Larry Muncey said at the time that Parker’s actions were not justified, and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) issued a formal apology to the Indian government for the incident.
Parker still faces the state charge of misdemeanor assault that carries a max of 1 year in county jail in Alabama and a civil suit brought by Patel.
The incident began with a 911 call from a resident of the neighborhood who reported a skinny black guy walking on the street near his home that he was suspicious about. “He was doing it yesterday and today…He’s just on foot. He’s just kind of walking around close to the garage.”
The 911 operator asks what the man looks like. “He’s a skinny black guy, he’s got a toboggan on, he’s really skinny.” He adds: “I’ve lived here four years and I’ve never seen him before.” He says he is about to go to work and is nervous to leave his wife at home with the black man walking around outside.
Upon arrival, the extent of Parkers interaction with Patel before the near fatal takedown follows:
Parker: “Hey bud come here, I want to talk to you real quick.” “What’s going on sir?” “You what?” Parker “Where?”
Parker: “Where you heading?” “Where?” “I can’t understand you, sir.” “Where’s your address?” “Do you have any ID?” “India?” “Do you live here.” “Sir, sir, come here.” “Do not jerk away from me again, or I will put you on the ground. Do you understand?”
Patel testified that he only knows a few English words and was attempting to point to his son’s house in response to Parkers questioning.
Full video of the incident: