Alabama cop had no right to assault Patel: Prosecution to US court

  • PTI, Washington
  • Updated: Sep 09, 2015 11:20 IST

An American police officer accused of violently assaulting an unarmed 58-year-old Indian grandfather and leaving him partially paralysed had no reason to think he may have committed a crime, a US court was told.

Sureshbhai Patel was never "fleeing" and that police had no right "to shake him down for immigration papers", assistant US Attorney Robert Posey told the Alabama federal court in Huntsville during the trial.

Alabama police officer Eric Parker, 26, has been charged for violating civil rights by assualting Patel in February.

Also read:Alabama cop who attacked Indian arrested, video shows brutal assault

"Is there a language barrier? They had no reason to try to think of a crime he (Patel) may have committed," Posey was quoted as saying by news website.

On the third day of the testimony, the defense called some police officers but each one told the jury that the front leg sweep and takedown of Patel did not violate the policy and training of the Madison Police Department.

"In that situation, I believe officer Parker did what he had to do to adapt and overcome," testified officer Russell Owens on Friday.

Sergeant Nicholas McRee said that the use of a takedown is consistent with policy and training if a suspect pulls away.

In all, 10 officers have testified for the defense and three officers were called to testify by the prosecution.

The defense argued that a suspicious person tried to walk away and that he was non-compliant, he pulled an arm away when Parker tried to control his hands.

The Justice Department, meanwhile, argued that evidence showed Parker telling this was an older man who did not speak English and the trainee had already patted him down for weapons when Parker slammed him to the ground.

At the end, the judge said she was troubled by the assertions that police had no right to stop and investigate Patel but had less trouble with the second part of the federal case questioning the takedown itself.

The government must prove that Parker's action were willful, or that he intended to deprive Patel of the right to be free from unreasonable force.

If convicted, Parker will face up to 10 years in prison on the federal charge.

The incident occurred on the morning of February 6 when Patel, who was walking down the sidewalk "was violently assaulted by a police official without provocation, and left partially paralysed", the 11-page lawsuit said.

A day before, Patel had arrived in the US to assist his son and daughter-in-law in caring for their 17-month-old child who suffered a developmental delay after premature birth.

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