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 has heard.
(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 at the trial of former Alabama police officer Eric Parker, 26, who has been charged with violating the civil rights of 58-year-old Patel in February.
“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 Al.Com news website.
On the third day of 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 yesterday.
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.
Parker faces up to 10 years in prison on the federal charge if convicted.
The incident occurred on the morning of February 6 when while walking down the sidewalk, Patel “was violently assaulted by a police official without provocation, and left partially paralysed,” the 11-page lawsuit had 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 a premature birth.