© 2020 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Judge Tosses Case Against Alabama Officer Accused Of Injuring Indian Man

Former Alabama police Officer Eric Parker, seen in September, has been acquitted of a federal charge of violating a man from India's rights by using excessive force.
Former Alabama police Officer Eric Parker, seen in September, has been acquitted of a federal charge of violating a man from India's rights by using excessive force.

A federal judge in Alabama has thrown out a civil rights case against a former Madison, Ala., police officer accused of using excessive force on an unarmed Indian man last February. Sureshbhai Patel, who was 57 years old at the time, suffered serious injuries.

Sureshbhai Patel lies in a bed at Huntsville Hospital in Huntsville, Ala., on Feb. 7, 2015. Patel was severely injured when he was thrown to the ground by police.
Chirag Patel / AP
Sureshbhai Patel lies in a bed at Huntsville Hospital in Huntsville, Ala., on Feb. 7, 2015. Patel was severely injured when he was thrown to the ground by police.

Eric Parker went on trial twice last year, and both ended in hung juries. Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala had been deliberating for more than two months on how to proceed with the federal case after the second mistrial, on Nov. 4, 2015.

In her decision to grant a motion to acquit Parker late Wednesday, she wrote, according to Al.com: "The Government has had two full and fair chances to obtain a conviction; it will not have another."

Patel had been walking around his son's neighborhood during a family visit to the United States. Police received a call about a "skinny black man" in the neighborhood. Parker said that Patel, who does not understand English, did not obey his commands. The confrontation, in which Parker is seen slamming Patel to the ground and falling on top of him, was caught on video.

Patel was seriously injured and required surgery. The incident sparked an international outcry, prompting Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley to apologize to the government of India.

Parker was fired and charged with assault. The local criminal charge against him is still pending.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.