An Alabama judge has thrown out the case against a police officer over his violent arrest of an Indian national.
Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala threw out the case against Madison, Alabama, officer Eric Parker on Wednesday, January 13. Parker was tried twice last year by federal prosecutors for deprivation of rights under color of authority and violation of civil rights due to his violent arrest of Sureshbhai Patel in February.
Judge Haikala ended her opinion on the ruling by saying, "The Government has had two full and fair chances to obtain a conviction; it will not have another." The "two full and fair chances" refer to federal prosecutors’ attempts to prove the charges against Parker; the previous two trials both ended with deadlocked juries.
Parker arrested Patel in February after someone reported Patel to the police over alleged suspicous behavior. Parker’s arrest was captured on video and shows him taking Patel down to the ground. Patel, a grandfather and Indian citizen visiting his son’s family in Madison, was left with severe injuries that required surgery and left him partially paralyzed. Parker’s defense argued that Patel should have understood Parker’s commands during the arrest, and that he was to blame for the circumstances leading to his injuries. Federal attorneys argued that Patel’s limited English and Parker’s aggressiveness led to misunderstanding over commands, and that Parker used excessive force in the arrest while Patel did not resist.
The case drew attention from Indian diplomats as video of the arrest circulated widely in the United States and India
Judge Haikala expressed sympathy for both Patel and Parker in her opinion, according to a report from AL.com:
"The result in this case is by no means satisfying. Hindsight brings clarity to a calamity," wrote Haikala in the conclusion of her opinion. "Mr. Patel’s celebrated arrival in this country to begin a new life with his son was interrupted in two tragic minutes."
"If Mr. Parker or Mr. Patel could take that time back, both would surely do things differently and avoid the events that have forever changed both of their lives."
"Mr. Patel had—and has—just as much right to be free from excessive force as every citizen of this country. He is welcome here, and it is appropriate to grieve his injury."
Parker is still facing state charges of midemeanor assault.