You might remember the story of the officer Eric Parker of the Madison, Alabama police department, who violently threw to the ground an Indian native, Sureshbhai Patel, apparently because he couldn’t speak English. Patel ended up hospitalized and suffers from paralysis after the police officer did this to him on February 6th after stopping him from walking in the neighborhood where Mr. Patel’s son, daughter-in-law and grandchild live (TRIGGER WARNING- Graphic violence depicted):
While Eric Parker’s termination from the Madison Police Department is on appeal, a Federal Grand Jury has indicted him for civil rights violations in regards to the excessive use of force he employed against Mr. Patel.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Birmingham announced Friday that Madison Police Officer Eric Parker has been indicted on civil rights violations charges. […]
The FBI conducted a civil rights inquiry and turned over its findings to the U.S. Department of Justice. […]
[Patel’s attorney, Hank] Sherrod released this statement after the indictment was announced:
“Mr. Patel and his family are very pleased by the prompt and decisive action of U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance and the federal grand jury. For the public to trust police officers, it needs to know officers will be held accountable, and the felony civil rights charges filed against Parker, unlike the misdemeanor assault charge being pursued in state court, more accurately reflect the seriousness of Parker’s conduct.
Mr. Patel and his family are also deeply thankful for the continued support and concern of the local community and the general public. With the wind of these good thoughts and prayers at his back, through hard work and with the help of skilled and caring therapists at Healthsouth Rehabilitation Center in Huntsville, Mr. Patel has made tremendous progress in his recovery. Recently, Mr. Patel was able to walk a short distance on his own using a walker, an important milestone in his recovery. In the near future, Mr. Patel expects to be released to the home of his son, Chirag, where he will continue his therapy.”
U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance had the following to say regarding the charges against Eric Parker for deprivation of rights under color of law with respect to his excessive use of force in slamming Mr. Patel to ground on a concrete sidewalk.
“Police officers are sworn to uphold the law and protect the public,” said Vance in a prepared statement today. “The public must be able trust the police.”
During a press conference in Birmingham, Vance said the federal charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison. Parker, 26, also faces trial in Limestone County on April 29 on a charge of misdemeanor assault, which carries up to one year in jail.
What happened to Mr. Patel was outrageous. Thankfully, the FBI and the Department of Justice moved swiftly to deal with this violent act of unwarranted violent and criminal assault on an innocent man, who had every right to be walking in the neighborhood where his son lived. Mr. Patel had recently come to America to help with childcare responsibilities of his grandchild. He deserved far better treatment from the law enforcement community, which far too often doesn’t promote public safety or protect people, but instead acts like a lawless gang of thugs above the law. Hopefully, Eric Parker will be convicted for his actions and serve time in a federal prison for this violent assault.
A copy of Federal indictment is at this link.