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Mistrial In Case Of Alabama Cop Accused Of Paralyzing Elderly Indian Man

Sureshbhai Patel was severely injured after a Madison police officer arrested him following a report of a suspicious "skinny black guy."

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Indian citizen stopped by Madison police for walking on sidewalk, left partly paralyzed. http://t.co/mualSKVgwT

A federal judge declared a mistrial on Friday in the case of an Alabama police officer accused of injuring an elderly Indian man during an allegedly unjustified arrest.

Officer Erick Parker of the Madison Police Department had been charged with a felony for violating the civil rights of Sureshbhai Patel, a 57-year-old Indian citizen who had travelled to Alabama to help care for his newborn grandson.

Parker arrested Patel in February after responding to a non-emergency call, describing a "skinny black guy" who seemed suspicious. Patel, who does not speak English, was unable to understand Parker's commands. The officer then slammed the grandfather into the ground, leaving him partially paralyzed.

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The incident was capture on video and triggered widespread outrage in India and across the United States. Robert Bentley, the governor of Alabama, wrote a letter to Indian diplomats apologizing for what he called "the unfortunate use of excessive force by the Madison police."

Still, the Department of Justice was unable to convince the jury to return a unanimous verdict against Parker. According to AL.com, the federal jury sent three stalemate notes on Thursday and Friday, leading Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala to end the two-week-long trial.

Parker could still be convicted in a retrial. If he is found guilty of the top charge, he could spend up to ten years in prison.


Nicolás Medina Mora is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Nicolás Medina Mora at nicolas.mora@buzzfeed.com.

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