Madison Civil Rights Trial Continues, State Line Law Enforcement Effort

Sep 3, 2015

Former Madison police officer Eric Parker enters federal court in Huntsville
Credit Brynn Anderson / Associated Press

Additional witness testimony is expected today in the federal trial of a former Madison police officer accused of using excessive force during a police stop.

Former officer Eric Parker is facing charges of civil rights violations after he seriously injured an Indian grandfather. His trial is scheduled to continue today in Huntsville.

This past February, police investigating a call about a suspicious person in a suburban neighborhood encountered Sureshbhai Patel. They had difficulty communicating with Patel and eventually slammed the man to the ground face first. Parker says Patel resisted officers and put his hands in his pockets.

Patel denied that claim yesterday through an interpreter, saying he speaks very little English and couldn't understand what officers were saying when they stopped him.

Parker’s defense argued that his actions were unfortunate but appropriate given the circumstances. But Parker's colleague, Madison police officer Charles Spence, testified the maneuver used to take Patel down was completely unnecessary and Patel didn't appear to pose any threat or resistance.

Law enforcement will secure the Alabama-Tennessee state line through Labor Day.

Alabama's and Tennessee's state patrols are teaming up for the Hands Across the Border effort.

Jeffrey Rice is the captain of the north precinct at the Huntsville Police Department. He says the purpose of implementing the program is to promote safety.

“The purpose of Hands Across the Border is to work as a collective law enforcement unit to address drunk driving, drugged driving, and seat belt usage and this is a collaborative effort with the Alabama State Troopers, Tennessee Highway Patrol , Huntsville Police Department, and Madison County Sheriff’s Department.”

The effort will run through September 7th throughout the state of Alabama.

Those in the Research Park area of Huntsville will have more dining choices starting today.

The city of Huntsville has passed an ordinance that allows for food trucks to operate in Research Park from 10 AM to 2 PM Monday through Friday.

Andrew Judge is the owner of Sugar Belle Cupcake Truck. He says although the ordinance is a good start, there’s still more to be done for food trucks and the people in Research Park.

“There are still a couple of things we would love to see, kind of, move around to make it easier for people to access food trucks. That’s really the way it should have been. We are just trying to respond to what customers have asked us, to where they have wanted to see us set up, so they can see us and we can do business.”

Judge thinks the new policy might lead to future food truck events and maybe even a designated area for the trucks to operate.

A German auto parts manufacturer has opened its first technical center in North America in Cullman, Alabama.

REHAU just opened its $3 million, 12,000 square foot automotive technical center yesterday. The facility will allow for research and development work and new design initiatives to be employed at their existing manufacturing plant in Cullman.

Previously, new research and designs were developed at technical centers in Germany and then brought to Cullman.

The new facility will employ 45 engineers. REHAU manufacturers parts like bumpers, spoilers and rocker panels for the Mercedes-Benz plant near Tuscaloosa and for other automakers like BMW and Nissan.

Last year, the company finished a $115 million expansion to their Cullman plant that brought 250 new jobs to the area.