September 2015 \ Diaspora News \ India in the USA: Alabama incident
Mistrial declared

By Arun Kumar
  • Chirag Patel helps his father, Sureshbhai Patel as they arrive outside the federal courthouse before start of the trial

A US judge has declared a mistrial in the federal trial of an Alabama police officer who slammed an Indian grandfather walking in his son’s neighbourhood leaving the 57-year-old man partially paralysed.

The police officer, Eric Parker, 26, was charged with violating the civil rights under colour of law of Sureshbhai Patel during an incident on February 6, just six days after he had arrived from India to take care of his grandson.

US District Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala declared mistrial after a 12-person jury trying Parker in a Huntsville, Alabama federal court informed her that they could not reach a verdict—one that necessarily must be unanimous, reported. Based on the final note the jury sent to Haikala, no jury changed their position since deliberations began anew after an alternate juror was added. Altogether, the new jury deliberated about 10 hours. Prosecutor Robert Posey said the US government will try the case against Parker again. “We plan to re-try the case and so another jury will get a chance to see this evidence and hear the testimony,” Posey said. “We will let them decide.”

The Patel family, through attorney Hank Sherrod, declined to comment on the mistrial in an email to A re-trial won’t be far in the future. Posey said federal law mandates the trial begin within 70 days, unless one side asks for a delay and it’s granted by the judge.”Our team is going to go back and huddle up and review, as you might expect, everything that we’ve done and see if there’s anything we want to change,” Posey said. “We were able to introduce all of our evidence. The jury got a chance to hear from the defendant. We’ll just look forward to the next time,” he said. “Obviously some of them saw things our way and some of them didn’t. At the end of the day, we come back and try it again. We’ll see how that goes,” said Parker’s attorney, Robert Tuten.