Madison, Ala., Police Officer Eric Parker has been acquitted by a federal judge following two trials that resulted in hung juries, Reuters reports.
Parker was accused of violating the civil rights of Indian national Sureshbhai Patel and using unreasonable force while responding to a 911 call after he was seen on video tossing the 57-year-old grandfather to the ground, leaving him severely injured. According to Reuters, Patel is expected never to fully recover from the injuries suffered during the February 2015 incident.
U.S. District Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala on Wednesday acquitted the 27-year-old after juries in Huntsville, Ala., deadlocked twice while trying to determine whether Parker deprived Patel of his civil rights in the case that drew national attention.
“The gaps in the evidence and the conflicting nature of the trial testimony proved insurmountable to the government’s ability to obtain 12 guilty votes in two trials,” Haikala wrote in her opinion, Reuters notes. “The government has had two full and fair chances to obtain a conviction; it will not have another.”
Patel, who speaks no English, was staying with his son, daughter-in-law and their infant son to help care for the child when he went for a morning walk, just two weeks after moving from India. While he was on his walk, someone reported him as a suspicious person, prompting police response.
When approached by officers, Patel said, “No English,” while reciting his son’s house number. Nonetheless, cops frisked the 57-year-old before Parker was seen on video brutally slamming him to the ground. Patel had to undergo surgery to fuse two of his vertebrae and lost a wide range of movement in his arms and legs.
Parker testified that the injuries were accidental. He could have faced up to 10 years in prison if he had been convicted.
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