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Alabama Ex-Cop Hit With Federal Charge After Injuring Indian Grandfather

Eric Parker has been charged with assaulting Indian citizen Sureshbhai Patel during a sidewalk stop Feb. 6 that was caught on video in Madison.
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/ Source: NBC News

The police officer caught on video violently throwing down a 57-year-old Indian grandfather on a sidewalk in Alabama was indicted Friday on a civil rights charge, federal prosecutors announced.

Eric Parker, who was fired from the Madison Police Department after the Feb. 6 incident, was charged with deprivation of rights under color of law. Under the Constitution, the law allows people the "right to be free from the use of unreasonable force," according to the indictment released by U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance in the Northern District of Alabama. The charge carries up to 10 years in prison.

Parker was identified as the officer seen on dash-cam video throwing Sureshbhai Patel to the ground. Patel, who does not speak English, had been visiting his son's home in Madison when he was stopped after someone called police to report a "skinny black guy" walking around the neighborhood.

Patel suffered injuries to his neck and was left partially paralyzed, his family said.

Parker was previously charged with third-degree assault with a trial date set for April 29. He couldn't immediately be reached for comment Friday.

Patel's attorney, Hank Sherrod, said his client has been recovering at a rehabilitation center and is now able to travel short distances using a walker. He added: "For the public to trust police officers, it needs to know officers will be held accountable, and the felony civil rights charges filed against Parker, unlike the misdemeanor assault charge being pursued in state court, more accurately reflect the seriousness of Parker’s conduct."

Image: Madison Police Department officer Parker is shown in this booking photo provided by Limestone County Sheriff's Office in Athens
Madison Police Department officer Eric Parker is shown in this booking photo provided by Limestone County Sheriff's Office in Athens, Alabama February 13, 2015. Parker, has been charged with assault after a man recently arrived from India said he was left partially paralysed when the officer threw him to the ground during a morning walk, authorities said Thursday.HANDOUT / Reuters


— Erik Ortiz and Denise Royal