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Parker to Testify in Civil Rights Trial, Busy Travel Weekend Expected

Huntsville Federal Court
Federal court house, Huntsville, Ala.

Former Madison police officer Eric Parker’s defense team is expected to present their case today as his civil rights trial continues.

Parker is accused of violating the civil rights of 58 year old Indian man Sureshbhai Patel when he assaulted and partially paralyzed him during a police stop in February.

The former officer says he slammed Patel into the ground because he wasn’t following police orders and tried to put his hands in his pockets. Patel testified through an interpreter that he doesn’t speak much English, and couldn’t understand what the officers were saying to him.

Two other Madison police officers say Parker’s actions were completely unnecessary and Patel clearly wasn’t a threat. Parker’s defense argues that his actions were unfortunate, but appropriate considering the circumstances.

Defense attorney Robert Tuten plans on having Parker himself take the stand.

This Labor Day weekend drivers should plan ahead before hitting the road in order to ensure safer travel.

The end of summer travel period is one of the busiest for the southeast.

Clay Ingram is the spokesman for AAA Alabama. He says distracted drivers are one of the biggest safety concerns for travel on a daily basis, but especially on 3 day weekends when traffic volume is up.

“Keeping your focus on the road is of paramount importance. Plan ahead a little bit if you’re going to be on the highway, and make sure someone else in the vehicle can handle all those administrative -type duties whether it’s handing out snacks, or changing the radio station, reading a map or answering the cell phone. Whatever it may be.”

Ingram says AAA predicts a one percent increase in the number of travelers this Labor Day weekend compared to last year’s. He says adding extra time into your schedule can help ease some of the pressure of traveling.

The University of Alabama football team is in Texas getting ready for the Advocare Classic against the University of Wisconsin.

The Crimson Tide went 12-2 a year ago, and have their sights set on getting back to the College Football Playoff.

Coach Nick Saban knows his team will have to take it one game at a time. He says the Badgers provide a great test for his defense right out of the gate.

“They’ve got a significant number of starters. I think five or six on offense, five or six on defense. They have the quarterback back and have a very good runner even though that wasn’t their star; he gained almost a thousand yards a year ago, a couple of offensive linemen, good tight ends.”

Kickoff is set for 7 PM tomorrow on ABC. Auburn plays the University of Louisville at 2:30 PM in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic in Atlanta.

Mobile’s mayor is trying to bring the cruise industry back to Alabama's port city.

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson announced yesterday that the city is in talks with Carnival Cruise Line to bring cruise liners back to Mobile. Stimpson spoke during a news conference at the Mobile Regional Airport saying his "economic development" trip to Miami helped the city's cause.

Stimpson says he expects a final contract to be in place by the end of the month.

The Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines ended its seven-year relationship with Mobile in October 2011 and relocated to New Orleans because the trips out of Mobile weren't making enough money. Carnival's departure left the city with an empty terminal costing taxpayers nearly two million dollars a year in debt.

Two cruise ships have docked in Mobile since then, but only because of emergency situations.

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