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Mistrial declared in US cop’s assault on Indian grandfather

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Washington: The case against an Alabama police officer charged with slamming an Indian grandfather to the ground last February and severely injuring him, was declared as having gone through a mistrial, a US judge declared for the second time in two months.

US District Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala declared a mistrial Wednesday in the case against Madison Police Officer Eric Parker, 27, for assaulting Sureshbhai Patel after the jury told her that it was deadlocked despite ‘intense discussions’, according to Al.com.

Parker’s first criminal trial at the federal courthouse in Huntsville ended Sep 11 with a jury hung 10-2 in favour of acquittal, leading to the retrial.

The retrial began Oct 26. The new jury spent more than three days deliberating after receiving the case on Friday afternoon. But on Wednesday afternoon it told the judge it had reached an impasse.

Patel who does not speak English, was walking in front of his son’s home on the morning of Feb 6 when a neighbour called police to report a suspicious person.

Parker and another officer stopped Patel. Parker says Patel did not comply with police orders, that he pulled away during a frisk and that he feared Patel could be armed. Parker testified he lost his balance during the takedown.

Patel said he did not understand officers, did not resist and did not pull away. Testifying through a Gujarati translator he told the court that he just stood there, that he did not jerk nor pull his hands away before the takedown.

“I did not try to run away but I did go back a couple of steps to show them my house, my house,” testified Patel on Wednesday. “They put their hands on me and I was just standing and did not move.”

Federal prosecutors argued Patel, 57, is a “small, old man” who does not speak English, had just arrived from India a week earlier and did not pose any threat to the pair of officers who confronted him.

Defence attorney Robert Tuten told the jury that lack of English does not excuse Patel: “When you come to the US we expect you to follow our laws and speak our language.”

He also argued that Patel’s actions led to the takedown, that Patel was not allowed to walk away from police or pull his hand away.

Assistant US Attorney Robert Posey, according to Al.com said Tuten had moved the judge for acquittal after the mistrial. The judge must rule on that before the prosecution can decide whether to bring the case back for a third trial.

Posey said: “I feel strongly about the case. It’s something we’re going to discuss…this is a strong case that needed to be brought. And it would be nice to get a resolution.”

Parker also faces a state charge of misdemeanour assault. That case has been on hold pending the outcome of the federal trial.

(Arun Kumar, IANS)

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Ethnic Indian Jai Sears responds to complaint against the statue of Gandhi in Grenada

Jai Sears wrote in response to a letter on Mahatma Gandhi entitled “Dustbin of history” written by Josiah Rougier

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Gandhi
Mahatama Gandhi, leader of non violence

Jai Sears from Grenada, Caribbean has written a letter to editor in response to complaints against the statue of Gandhi in Grenada. Here is the text:

I write in response to a letter on Mahatma Gandhi entitled “Dustbin of history” written by Josiah Rougier and published in the Grenada newspaper, The New Today (Nov 3, 2017). In his letter, Rougier is asking the Government to remove the bust-statue of Gandhi which overlooks Sauteurs Bay in Grenada where East Indians arrived 160 years ago. Rougier’s opinion is based on the false notion that Gandhi was racist because the Mahatma reportedly considered Indians to be superior to black Africans when he referred to the latter as “kaffirs.”

Gandhi was only 27 years old when he made that contextual statement. If Rougier had done his research, he would have found that Nelson Mandela said: “Gandhi must be forgiven for these prejudices in the context of the time and the circumstances.” The quote can be found in “Gandhi the Prisoner” by Nelson Mandela published in 1995. Gandhi was a man; he was not god. And even god made mistakes.

In favour of Mahatama Gandhi
Photo of Jai Sears

Rougier must instead focus on the Gandhi’s vision of non-violent protest and his belief in satyagraha which inspired rebels and revolutionaries around the world. Gandhi’s ideas influenced leaders of the African National Congress and the struggle by Indians and blacks against white apartheid rule in South Africa. From as early as 1956 when he was 27 years old, Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to Gandhi as “the guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change.”

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Following the success of his boycott, King contemplated traveling to India to deepen his understanding of Gandhian principles. The fact is that Gandhi saw people of all races, castes, colours and creeds as equal which led to his assassination by a Hindu fanatic in 1948. So who is this unknown Josiah Rougier? Is he as illustrious as the great Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King? And is he disagreeing with his possible heroes?

A friend to all.
Jai Sears
Grenada, Caribbean