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Alabama police officer on trial for throwing Indian man to ground
September 1, 2015 / 6:11 PM / 2 years ago

Alabama police officer on trial for throwing Indian man to ground

(Reuters) - The federal trial of an Alabama police officer who faces a civil rights charge after being captured on video throwing an Indian man to the ground got underway on Tuesday with the start of jury selection, prosecutors said.

Eric Parker, 26, is accused of using unreasonable force while serving as a police officer in Madison, Alabama during the Feb. 6 incident, which left an Indian grandfather badly injured.

He faces a single charge of depriving the victim of his rights.

Sureshbhai Patel, who spoke no English, had been on a morning walk about two weeks after moving from India to northern Alabama to help his son’s family care for a young child.

He sustained injuries that required surgery to relieve pressure on his spinal cord, according to a civil suit that he has filed against Parker and the city.

The 58-year-old is expected to testify through a translator, his attorney Hank Sherrod said in an email. He said Patel is not expected to fully recover from his injuries, and now requires assistance to walk.

The police department released a video recorded inside a patrol vehicle. It showed Patel standing with his hands behind his back with two uniformed officers in a residential neighborhood, before he was abruptly flipped to the ground.

The Madison Police Department apologized for Parker’s actions and recommended his termination, which he has challenged.

Parker’s attorney, Robert Tuten, previously said the officer did not believe he had violated the law. He could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Parker was charged in state court with misdemeanor assault. Both that trial and his termination proceedings are on hold pending the outcome of the federal case, a city official said.

Reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Fla.; Editing by Andrew Hay

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