An Indian man in his late 50s had been visiting his son and grandson in Madison, Alabama last February when he went out for a walk and became the alleged victim of police brutality that left him partially paralyzed, though his condition has improved slightly since then according to an article published by NBC News. The incident began when police received a call regarding a suspicious looking black man that had been looking at garages and houses in in the neighborhood.
When police responded, the victim allegedly could not speak English and did not understand what the officers were requesting him to do. Ultimately, the officers stopped the victim on the street, searched him for weapons, and allegedly slammed the victim to the ground using a maneuver known as a leg sweep. It was this action that caused the victim to suffer an injury to his spinal cord that caused him to “immediately become paralyzed in his arms and legs” before finally being handcuffed. The officers claim that the victim jerked away from them during a weapons frisk on four occasions, which led to the decision to take the suspect to the ground.
The Procedure Thus Far
So far, the victim and his family members have had an uphill battle trying to prove that the victim’s civil rights were violated, a main contention of the case. According to the article, the police officer accused in this particular incident saw charges of state misdemeanor assault charges leveled against him when the suit was initially filed dropped. Additionally, two federal civil trials regarding the incident have resulted in hung juries.
A hung jury is a jury that cannot reach the required level of agreement to return a verdict of guilty or not guilty. In cases of a hung jury, some judges will order the jury to deliberate more to try and come to an agreement. However, a judge may declare a mistrial for a hung jury because it may become apparent that no amount of deliberation will overcome the jury’s deadlocked opinions. Mistrials can be declared for other reasons, so not every mistrial is the result of a hung jury. When a mistrial is declared, the case can usually be retried based on the same pleadings originally used. Both parties can sometimes amend their pleadings for a new trial, depending on court procedure at the venue they are working in.
Recently, the case has been refiled with another amended pleading on behalf of the victim that alleges the police officer involved violated Alabama state law regarding illegal search and assault; false arrest and false imprisonment; and assault and battery and excessive force. According to the article, the newly revised complaint also adds two additional claims against the City of Madison, Alabama under federal legal theories, including: failing to train its police officers, and employing departmental policies such as police stops and pat downs that resulted in a violation of the victim’s civil rights.
Many times, communities can be on edge because of differences between residents and police. This tension can fuel interactions that can lead to false arrests or additional charges when situations are not handled correctly by one or both parties. If you are facing criminal charges, it is important that you contact a criminal defense attorney that has experience handling the types of charges you are facing.
Not only is is possible for an innocent person to go to jail or to be convinced to plead to lesser charges if they do not have a strong legal advocate protecting their rights, but serious injury can also result from interactions with police.