Prosecutors planning 3rd trial of Alabama police officer

AP News
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Posted: Nov 13, 2015 7:45 PM

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A federal prosecutor said Friday that he plans to pursue a third trial of an Alabama police officer accused of using excessive force on an Indian man if a judge doesn't acquit him.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Posey said he told U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala during a phone conference that prosecutors would pursue another trial of Madison police officer Eric Parker if she doesn't grant the motion for acquittal filed by Parker's attorney Robert Tuten.

Parker was charged with violating the rights of 58-year-old Sureshbhai Patel during an encounter in February. Parker knocked Patel to the ground while investigating a suspicious-person complaint.

Patel has said through an interpreter that he doesn't speak English. He came to the United States to live with his son in suburban Huntsville and said he had been in the country only a few days at the time of the confrontation.

Parker testified that Patel aroused suspicion by trying to pull away from him during the confrontation.

Patel wasn't armed and suffered a spinal injury when he was thrown down face-first on a lawn. Parker said he lost his balance and fell on Patel.

Parker's two previous trials ended in hung juries. After the second mistrial on Nov. 4, Tuten said he was also ready to try the case again if necessary.

"The basic evidence of the case is the same; it will always be the same. There's no other evidence. There's no other defense," Tuten said.

After the second mistrial, Posey said convicting law enforcement of using excessive force is difficult because prosecutors must also prove the officer knew he or she was committing a crime.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has apologized to the Indian government for Patel's treatment, calling it a case of excessive force.

Patel has filed a civil lawsuit against Parker, and the city of Madison is attempting to fire him. Parker also faces an assault charge in state court.