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Alabama looks to dismiss assault case against police officer

May 12, 2016 - 4:41 PM

ATHENS, Ala. - Prosecutors on Thursday moved to drop state charges against a north Alabama police officer accused of assaulting an Indian man during a suspicious person investigation.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange filed a motion to dismiss the case against Eric Parker in Limestone County Circuit Court.

Parker was recorded slamming Sureshbhai Patel, 58, to the ground in February 2015. Patel was out for a walk in his son's suburban Huntsville neighbourhood and was approached by police after a neighbour who called 911 reported a thin black man walking through the area looking at houses.

Parker has said Patel resisted him. Patel has said through an interpreter that he doesn't speak English and didn't understand Parker's orders. Patel was seriously injured in the fall and had to have surgery to relieve pressure on his spinal cord afterward.

Two federal civil rights trials against Parker ended in hung juries before he was acquitted.

Strange said in a statement that there isn't sufficient evidence for the state to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Strange said he came to the decision after reviewing 2,000 pages of transcripts from the federal trial.

"While the State charge has a lesser kind of culpability than that of the federal charge, the evidence is the same and the State's burden remains proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt," Strange said.

Parker still faces a federal civil trial and is accused of illegal seizure, unlawful search, excessive force, assault, false imprisonment and assault and battery. The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages, legal fees and more.

Phone calls and emails to attorneys representing Parker and Patel weren't immediately returned.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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