A deadlocked jury failed to reach a decision in the federal trial of an Alabama police officer who took down an Indian grandfather, leaving him partially paralyzed.
U.S. District Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala declared a mistrial after the 12-person jury told her four separate times they couldn’t reach an unanimous decision as to whether former Madison police officer Eric Parker should be convicted, AL.com reported.
“The government will retry the case,” the U.S. attorney’s office in the Northern District of Alabama said in a statement. “We look forward to having another jury hear the evidence.”
Dashboard camera footage captured the February incident and sparked international outrage. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) formally apologized to the Indian government.
Parker was arrested for assault after the encounter with Sureshbhai Patel, a 57-year-old Indian man who had recently come to the United States to help care for his grandson. A 911 call about a suspicious person led two officers to approach Patel, who had been on a morning stroll through the neighborhood. Patel suffered major injuries and was left partially paralyzed.
In March, a grand jury indicted Parker on one felony count of using unreasonable force.
Parker said he he lost his balance when he took Patel down, the Associated Press reported. He said he was worried about his safety, as Patel repeatedly pulled away from him and also reached into his pockets, AL.com reported.
“This was an escalated police action based on what Mr. Patel did,” Robert Tuten, Parker’s attorney, said during closing arguments.
But prosecutors argued that Parker intentionally performed a leg sweep to take Patel down.
Patel testified through a translator during the trial, telling jurors that he recognized men wearing police uniforms shouting from behind him but he couldn’t understand their commands, WHNT reported. “No English, no English,” Patel said to them, he testified. He also testified that he didn’t resist.
Closing arguments came Wednesday and jurors first informed the judge Thursday that they were deadlocked. The judge urged the jury to come to an unanimous decision Friday after they had sent her three notes declaring that they reached an impasse, AL.com reported.
Haikala declared the mistrial Friday afternoon.