Retrial of police officer who beat Indian grandfather begins

Washington, Oct 27: The retrial of a US police officer accused of violently assaulting a 58-year-old Indian grandfather that left him partially paralysed has begun in a federal court in Alabama.

Eric Parker is charged with violating the civil rights of Sureshbhai Patel following an encounter in a Madison neighbourhood off County Line Road on February 6.

Retrial of US police officer begins

After meeting lawyers of both sides behind closed doors, US District Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala ordered that, unlike during the first trial, media will not be allowed to report or blog from the courtroom.

Reporters will be allowed to take handwritten notes and report after they leave. The order is intended to stop witnesses from hearing what other witnesses have said to discourage false testimony, inaccuracies or collusion South Asian rights group hoped that Patel would be able to get justice this time.

A deadlocked jury failed to convict Parker last month during the first federal trial on a civil rights charge brought against him by the US Department of Justice.

Read More: Indian man attacked in US: Fast improving Sureshbhai can speak now, says Attorney

Patel's assault, which was filmed, drew international attention. Footage from police cameras showed the grandfather - who speaks no English - approached by police officers who asked him questions like name, address and identity card.

Patel is heard saying "no English" and pointing finger towards his son's home. Soon one of the police officer, later identified as Parker, is seen violently throwing Patel on the ground and threatening him not to leave.

It is at this time it appears Patel was paralysed, apparently by shock. "It is our hope that today's retrial is heard before a jury that truly represents the population of Madison, AL where one in ten residents speaks a language other than English at home," South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), an umbrella group, said.

SAALT joined National Coalition of South Asian Organisations (NCSO) member and Huntsville, and community- based organisation, AshaKiran, in demanding justice for Patel.


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