Private Hearing in Parker Trial, Alabama Special Session Underway

Sep 9, 2015

Fallen Heroes Memorial at U.S.S. Alabama Battleship Park, Mobile, Ala.

The civil rights trial of former Madison police officer Eric Parker was delayed for hours yesterday for a closed hearing involving the Madison police chief.

WHNT reports Police Chief Larry Muncey and other high-ranking members of the Madison Police Department were called into a closed hearing before the judge regarding allegations of improper contact between members of the department.

Muncey was asked to bring copies of all e-mails he sent regarding the trial. If the allegations are proven true, Muncey could face criminal contempt of court charges.

Parker’s trial finally got underway around 3:30 yesterday afternoon. Matthew McCullars, a basic training coordinator, testified that language barriers aren’t part of officers’ defensive tactics training. He also says the takedown Parker used to subdue Sureshbhai Patel isn’t included, either.

Parker is accused of violating Patel’s civil rights by slamming him into the ground and partially paralyzing him during a police stop.

Lawmakers are back in Montgomery for a third time to tackle the state budget.

Legislators have so far been unable to agree on how to handle a projected funding shortfall of at least $200 million.

Political commentator and columnist Steve Flowers says legislators don't have much time to work with.

“I believe what really happens is they just piecemeal a budget together in a short two week special session. They’re running against a deadline, they have to have a budget by October 1.”

Governor Bentley is asking lawmakers to approve a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax and other tax increases to avoid cuts to state services. The House Ways and Means Committee will debate those revenue bills today. Many legislators have taken a firm stance opposing tax increases.

NASA is looking for a smartwatch app that’s out of this world. APR’s Pat Duggins reports the design contest could help work being done in Huntsville.

The Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville is the control center for science work being done aboard the International Space Station. NASA’s smartwatch app contest is supposed to help make sure that work is done on time.

Contestants have until today to come up with an app design that tells astronauts what tasks are scheduled on a given day. It’s also supposed to have a timer to keep experiments from running long, as well as a function to say whether the space station has clear communications with mission control.

Space station crew members currently use tablets to keep track of their workload. NASA wants the same thing on the astronauts’ wrists.

The winner of the design contest gets a $1500 prize.

A new memorial to soldiers killed since the Sept. 11 terror attacks will be unveiled in Mobile later this week.

WKRG reports the new memorial at the U.S.S. Alabama Battleship Memorial Park will formally open Friday.

The memorial recognizes the 146 people from Alabama who died in military campaigns since the 9/11 terror attacks, including in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The daughter of a CIA officer killed in Afghanistan, Mike Spann of Winfield, will speak at the ceremony. Spann was killed in a 2001 uprising of Taliban and al-Qaeda prisoners shortly after the U.S. invasion.