Opening statements were made after a jury was seated Tuesday in the retrial of an Alabama police officer accused of throwing an Indian man to the ground and leaving him partially paralyzed following a street encounter in February.
The first witness will be called to testify Wednesday morning, according to NBC affiliate WSFA 12 News.
The jury consists of three men and 11 women; two of the 14 are alternates, WSFA 12 News reported.
U.S. District Court Judge Madeline Haikala in Huntsville Alabama, did not permit reporters into the courtroom for a second day during jury selection in the retrial of Eric Parker, who is charged with violating the civil rights of 58-year-old Sureshbhai Patel. The reason given to media was that there was no space in the courtroom, WSFA 12 News reported.
Later on Tuesday, however, Haikala reportedly allowed journalists in after attorneys for WHNT News 19, a station in Huntsville, made a written request to the judge asking her to reconsider her decision, according to WHNT.com.
This follows a ruling Haikala handed down Monday prohibiting media from live blogging or tweeting from the courtroom as was done in the first trial, which ended in a hung jury.
Parker is accused of using excessive force against Patel after responding to a 911 call in Madison, Alabama, reporting a suspicious black man on the street. Patel was visiting from India and was out for a morning walk when he was stopped by Parker.
A police car dash cam captured the Feb. 6 incident which shows Parker using force against Patel, slamming him to the ground. Parker has said he brought down Patel because he was resisting officers and reached toward his pockets, a claim Patel denied through an interpreter. In the first trial, Parker testified in his own defense, saying he lost his balance during the encounter and wasn’t trying to hurt Patel.
A mistrial was declared on Sept. 11 in the first trial after a jury could not reach a verdict. Parker is charged with deprivation of rights under color of law, an offense that carries a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted.
In a statement Monday, national civil rights organization South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), said: “It is our hope that today's retrial is heard before a jury that truly represents the population of Madison, AL where one in ten residents speaks a language other than English at home.”