Alabama Officer Fired Over Abusive Takedown Of Indian National Is Hit With Federal Civil Rights Charges

54de18903b380.imageWe previously discussed the terrible case of Sureshbhai Patel who was seriously injured after former Madison (Alabama) police officer Eric Sloan Parker slammed him face first into the ground during a confrontation. Parker is now charged on the state level and facing a civil lawsuit. Now he has been charged with violating Patel’s civil rights. As we have discussed before, the question is whether such federal charges are necessary or warranted. Obviously, while based on the same conduct as the state charges, the charges are different. On the state level, it is assault while on the federal level it is the denial of federal rights. The Supreme Court has rejected double jeopardy attacks on such back-to-back charges, but these cases still raise the same concerns of multiplication of charges.

Under the indictment, Parker’s actions deprived the victim of his right under the U.S. Constitution to be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures, which includes the right to be free from unreasonable force by someone acting under color of law.

The concern is that, even if a defendant is acquitted of the state charges, he faces a trial on the same actions in federal court. This is not to reflect any sympathy for Parker in facing charges. However, this is a recurring concern among civil libertarians over the erosion of double jeopardy protections. There are obviously different charges raised in the prosecutions, but some civil libertarians have questioned the trend of overlapping jurisdictions. At one time, such cases were addressed as state crimes with rare subsequent federal prosecutions, particularly in cases of discrimination. It is now becoming more common – at least in notorious cases like this one with international implications.

Parker, 26, was previously fired so it is not clear if he can afford counsel in this three-front litigation.

The problem is how to distinguish between federal crimes that are sufficiently distinct not to constitute double jeopardy. The Court has adopted a highly permissive approach that has fueled the increased use of parallel federal prosecutions. The foundation for this rule was laid in Blockburger v. United States, 284 U.S. 299 (1932), where the Supreme Court held that “where the same act or transaction constitutes a violation of two distinct statutory provisions, the test to be applied to determine whether there are two offenses or only one, is whether each provision requires proof of an additional fact which the other does not.” The Supreme Court has also emphasized that as separate sovereign powers, the federal government retains the right prosecute for its own crimes. In United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1875), stressed that:

“It is the natural consequence of a citizenship which owes allegiance to two sovereignties, and claims protection from both. The citizen cannot complain, because he has voluntarily submitted himself to such a form of government. He owes allegiance to the two departments, so to speak, and within their respective spheres must pay the penalties which each exacts for disobedience to its laws.”

What do you think of these dual state-federal prosecutions?

Source: ABC News

49 thoughts on “Alabama Officer Fired Over Abusive Takedown Of Indian National Is Hit With Federal Civil Rights Charges”

  1. Karen S,

    “illegal aliens”

    What did the native Americans call us?

    I guess they weren’t developed enough to contrive poor public policy and say the injustices are merely part of the rule of law. Or developed enough to have a relentless propaganda system.

  2. “I do not envision the Framers would approve of today’s situation.”

    Darren Smith

    I think they would be quite alright. The top classes in terms of economics and status are doing very well. They have had awesome security for essentially the entirety of our nation-state. That’s what Madison wanted. That opulent majority!!!

    They wouldn’t have to be upset about the lack of chattel slavery either, there is plenty of wage slavery to help men in similar standing profit off many.

  3. BarkinDog

    “Look at: Steve Ryals, Nuts and Bolts of Section 1983 Litigation.”

    Good call, you picked a great St. Louisan!

    I shadowed Ryals in my undergraduate days and as a civil rights lawyer (pretty successful) he does not even entertain clients that are incarcerated. The beginning of becoming more learned about our “justice” system.

  4. Personanongrata

    As JT states (maybe with a straight face), it was not a take down but a “confrontation”

    But that information cannot be made public in our age because we don’t want to embarrass anyone associated with “protecting” our homeland and communities throughout it.

  5. Richard

    Under “our” original preamble, bill of rights, and Constitution barely anyone was granted freedom.

    The people in the “dictatorship of the proletariat” are the people who are attempting to “[taking] full advantage of their freedom to move”. I don’t think the roofers I saw working today have the power to vaporize US citizens in another country.

    “American Freedom was established for all people…”

    Really? Pure propaganda in its worst form.

    How’s that message received when reading about Anwar al-Awlaki? (who did move away as you suggested) Or Eugene Debs? Or nearly any dissident in American history.

    From Glenn Greenwald

    “Who is more tragically propagandized: those who actually believe that U.S. foreign policy is motivated by a desire to spread freedom and democracy for women, gays, and human beings generally, or those who scoff with unbridled contempt whenever the suggestion is made with a straight face?”

    Plug in founding fathers as the idea and this blog is exploited for lame propaganda.

  6. How many other times has police officer idiot Eric Sloan Parker employe his abusive take down tactic on the unsuspecting citizens of Madison Alabama?

  7. The officer committed a crime of assault and battery. Arrest cannot be defined by assault and battery.

    Rights were defined by the Preamble, Constitution and Bill of Rights. “Civil Rights,” whatever they are, are unconstitutional. Freedom is comprehensive.

    In order to assuage yet another special interest, minority group with a complaint about its particular characteristics, “civil rights” were arbitrarily conjured up. The SCOTUS had but one duty and that was to declare “civil rights” unconstitutional and prosecute the complainants for fraud and waste.

    American Freedom was not established to provide “superiority” and “free stuff” for all the “victims du jour” who beg for and demand it, American Freedom was established for all people, to be considered precious, protected, defended and perpetuated. American Freedom was not established to eliminate comprehensive freedom for all and generate the “dictatorship of the proletariat” for minorities and special interest groups. People who don’t like themselves should take full advantage of their freedom to move or get treatment.

    You can please all of the people some of the time,
    And some of the people all of the time,
    But you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

    All that can be done is to provide


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