A former Alabama police officer was brought up on federal civil rights charges stemming from a February incident that left a visiting Indian grandfather partially paralyzed, the Justice Department announced Friday.
A federal grand jury handed down a one-count indictment against Eric Sloan Parker, 26, for allegedly injuring the man by slamming him to the ground. Parker subsequently turned himself in and was arrested on third-degree assault charges. He was later fired from the Madison, Ala. Police Department.
The indictment alleges Parker “deprived the man in Madison of his right under the U.S. Constitution to be secure from unreasonable seizures, which includes the right to be free from unreasonable force by someone acting under color of law,” according to a Justice Department press release.
Sureshbhai Patel was visiting his son in Madison when Parker allegedly stopped him while he was walking in his son’s neighborhood on Feb. 6. Graphic dash cam video of the stop showed an officer slamming Patel into the ground. Patel is identified only as “S.P” in the Justice Department press release.
The ex-police officer’s attorney told the Associated Press that his client would plead not guilty to the federal charges.
“We are shocked, disappointed and overwhelmed by all the ways Eric Parker is coming under attack,” attorney Robert Tuten told the AP by email. “However, we are looking forward to seeing the indictment and having our day in court.”
Patel has also filed a civil lawsuit against Parker, according to the AP.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.