Judge Dismisses Case Against Police Officer Who Paralyzed Elderly Indian Grandfather

Alabama police officer Eric Parker who was accused of civil rights violations committed during the arrest of Sureshbhai Patel, which resulted in permanent paralysis of the elderly Indian grandfather. (Photo credit: AP / Brynn Anderson)
Alabama police officer Eric Parker who was accused of civil rights violations committed during the arrest of Sureshbhai Patel, which resulted in permanent paralysis of the elderly Indian grandfather. (Photo credit: AP / Brynn Anderson)

After a second trial ended in a mistrial due to jury deadlock late last year, a judge has now granted a motion of acquittal filed by defense attorneys to dismiss the case against Alabama police officer Eric Parker, who stood accused of using excessive force in his arrest of an elderly Indian grandfather in February of last year. Prosecutors had been seeking a third trial against the police officer.

Sureshbhai Patel, who was 57 at the time of the attack and who had just arrived in the United States to help care for his infant grandchild, was walking in the early morning of February 6, 2015, when he was approached by two police officers including Officer Parker. Police were responding to a call of a suspicious “skinny Black guy” in the area. Patel, who doesn’t speak much English, was detained and being handcuffed when dashcam video (after the jump) shows Parker suddenly slamming an otherwise cooperative and non-violent Patel to the pavement. The injury left the elderly man permanently paralyzed and reliant on a walker for mobility.

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Hawaiian Man Files Lawsuit After Being Beaten by Police Officer for Praying Over Monk Seal

Photo Credit: YouTube
Photo Credit: YouTube

In a story that has received scant mainstream attention, a Hawaiian man was savagely beaten by a Honolulu Police Department officer in 2014 for offering a prayer to a monk seal; the entire (apparently unprovoked) assault was captured on cellphone video by a bystander.

On September 10, 2014, 41-year-old Jamie Kalani Rice was walking on Honolulu’s Nanakuli Beach when he came across a monk seal lying on the beach in apparent distress. Rice, who is Native Hawaiian, knelt several feet from the monk seal and began a prayer ritual which he later said was to offer  the seal some of his mana; the ritual included chanting and rubbing himself with sand. Video shot by witnesses show that this ritual continued for several minutes, and Rice was seen occasionally lightly throwing small handfuls of sand at the seal to urge it back into the water; the seal only reacts at one point to the sand (minute 4:20 mark in the video, after the jump), but mostly appears non-responsive. Monk seals are a protected species, and Nanakuli Beach has signs warning visitors not to disturb these animals if they are encountered.

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Second Mistrial Declared in Police Beating of Sureshbhai Patel

Sureshbhai Patel enters the courthouse in the trial against his assailant, Alabama police officer Eric Parker, who paralyzed Patel following a routine pedestrian stop. (Photo credit: AP/Brynn Anderson)
Sureshbhai Patel enters the courthouse in the trial against his assailant, Alabama police officer Eric Parker, who paralyzed Patel following a routine pedestrian stop. (Photo credit: AP/Brynn Anderson)

I just can’t even right now.

A mistrial has once again been declared in the excessive force trial of Alabama police officer Eric Parker, who was caught on dashcam video in February violently slamming 57-year-old Sureshbhai Patel to the ground during a routine pedestrian stop. Parker testified that Patel posed a dangerous threat to the officer, but video appeared to show Patel motionless and compliant in the moments prior to the brutal tackle that left the elderly grandfather partially paralyzed.

A first trial against Parker ended in a mistrial in September after 10 male (and non-Black) jurists voted to acquit; the jury’s sole Black female members sided with Patel. For retrial, Parker’s attorneys elected to go with a “full xenophobia” defense strategy: in opening arguments presented last month, they blamed Patel’s limited English proficiency and his non-citizen status for his assault.

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We Need To Stop Blaming the Victims of Police Brutality For The Violence Committed Against Their Bodies

Stills from the assault on Spring Valley High School student last week by South Carolina Sheriff's Deputy Ben Fields (photo credit: AP).
Stills from the assault on Spring Valley High School student last week by South Carolina Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Fields (photo credit: AP).

An unarmed 16-year-old schoolgirl who refuses to put away her cellphone does not deserve being grabbed by the neck and brutally slammed to the ground by a trained police officer. I repeat: an unarmed 16-year-old schoolgirl who refuses to put away her cellphone does not deserve being grabbed by the neck and brutally slammed to the ground by a trained police officer.

Last week, 16-year-old Shakara — a student at Spring Valley High School — was seen on cellphone video being thrown to the floor of her math classroom by South Carolina Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Fields. Cellphone video shows that Shakara was seated at her desk and making no sudden moves immediately prior to the violent assault where Fields grabbed Shakara from behind by her neck, and flipped her over so suddenly that the desk she was seated in overturned with her, and then bodily drags her out of the tangle of plastic and metal to lie prone on the classroom floor (video embedded after the jump). Already, social justice activists have rightfully identified the incident as yet another example of excessive police force targeting a Black body for unnecessary and unprovoked violence.

Already, too, however, a chorus of naysayers have also chimed in. “Hold up,” they say, “we haven’t seen the ‘rest’ of the video.”

“We don’t know,” they say, “what Shakara did to provoke the attack.”

There is nothing a seated, unarmed, and non-violent teenager could do that would justify this kind of brutal assault.

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Defense Attorneys Go “Full Xenophobia” in Blaming Indian Grandfather for Being Paralyzed By Cop

Sureshbhai Patel enters the courthouse in the trial against his assailant, Alabama police officer Eric Parker, who paralyzed Patel following a routine pedestrian stop. (Photo credit: AP/Brynn Anderson)
Sureshbhai Patel enters the courthouse in the trial against his assailant, Alabama police officer Eric Parker, who paralyzed Patel following a routine pedestrian stop. (Photo credit: AP/Brynn Anderson)

This is absolutely disgusting.

58-year-old Sureshbhai Patel was out for a morning walk this February in the neighbourhood where his son lives, when he was stopped by Alabama police officer Eric Parker. Parker was responding to a 911 call about a “suspicious” “skinny Black guy” in the neighbourhood. Dashcam video shows that within minutes of Parker confronting Patel, the police officer senselessly and violently throws Patel to the ground, leaving the elderly man permanently paralyzed (video after the jump).

Parker was charged with excessive police force over the summer. However, last month that first trial ended in a mistrial due to a hung jury: 10 male jury members — none Black — voted to acquit, while the lone hold-outs were the jury’s sole two Black women members.

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