Wednesday 12 December, 2018
Headline

Alabama drops case against cop charged with assaulting Sureshbhai Patel

File photo of Sureshbhai Patel.

NRI Pulse Staff Report

Atlanta, GA, May 15: Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange announced the state has filed a motion in Limestone County District Court to dismiss a misdemeanor assault charge against Eric Parker, the former Madison police officer involved in the Sureshbhai Patel assault case.

“After a careful review of the witness testimony included in 2,000 pages of federal trial transcripts and a re-evaluation of the evidence, we are seeking to dismiss State charges against Mr. Parker,” said Attorney General Strange through a press release.

“Without a doubt this is an unfortunate case and we agree with U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala that ‘The result in this case is by no means satisfying.  Hindsight brings clarity to a calamity…’.

“Nevertheless, the State has been monitoring the federal court proceedings since last September which resulted in two federal mistrials of Mr. Parker and his acquittal by a federal judge.  While the State charge has a lesser kind of culpability than that of the federal charge, the evidence is the same and the State’s burden remains proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

“After a review of the federal trial testimony, it does not appear that there would be sufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.  Thus, we have a duty to move to dismiss the charge,” Strange said.

Earlier this year, to the shock of the Indian American community, Federal Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala threw out the case against Eric Parker, who faced up to 10 years in prison for using excessive force against 57-year-old Sureshbhai Patel,  leaving him partially paralyzed.

A team of three federal prosecutors had twice tried Parker last year for the takedown of Patel on the morning of February 6, 2015. Both trials ended with a deadlocked jury.

Sureshbhai Patel had arrived from India to the suburb of Madison in Huntsville,Alabama, to allow his daughter-in-law to go back to work by promising to care for his grandson.

On February 6 morning, Patel was taking a stroll through the neighborhood when police received a call mentioning a suspicious man. Eric Sloan Parker, the officer on duty, assaulted Patel, leaving him partially paralyzed with two injured vertebrae. Despite the fact that Patel insisted that he knew no English, Parker attacked him and has since been fired from the job. Parker, 26, has also been charged with questionable methods against minorities, the use of unreasonable force, as well as for subjecting Patel to an unreasonable search and seizure.

The case drew international interest prompting Governor Robert Bentley to issue a letter apologizing to Patel and toIndia.

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