A federal judge in the US has thrown out a case against a white police officer who was facing 10 years in prison for using excessive force against an Indian grandfather.
Former police officer Eric Parker from Madison, Alabama was caught on a police dash cam throwing Sureshbhai Patel to the ground on 6 February last year, leaving him partially paralyzed.
Mr Patel, who was 57 at the time, had been out for a walk while visiting his IT worker son and daughter-in-law in the small town when neighbours reported a “suspicious” man to the police.
When confronted by officer Parker, Mr Patel is said to have tried to communicate the fact that he couldn’t understand English before Parker grabs him and throws him on the ground.
But after two deadlocked juries, Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala wrote in a 92-page opinion on Wednesday that federal prosecutors wouldn’t get a third try to convict Parker.
“The result in this case is by no means satisfying,” Haikala wrote in the opinion.
“Hindsight brings clarity to a calamity. Mr. Patel’s celebrated arrival in this country to begin a new life with his son was interrupted in two tragic minutes … However, that injury, standing alone, does not provide the basis for a criminal judgment against Mr. Parker.”
Sureshbhai Patel in hospital.
The video footage drew international condemnation and focused attention on heavy-handedness and racist behaviour by police in the US.
Mr Patel’s injuries left him unable to walk or grip with his hands while doctors had to replace a vertebrae in his neck with a metal plate.
Mr Patel is not expected to fully recover from the injuries, his lawyer has said.
The incident was captured on dashcam, and Madison police released the video, which can be viewed above, in early 2015.
During deposition hearings, Parker told the court that he had used force on Mr Ptel because “he was going for that weapon that I presumed he had”.
Jurors on the case were split after a series of officers testified that Parker never breached protocol.
The former officer, who was fired, is still charged with misdemeanor assault and he faces a civil lawsuit from the Patel family.