Madison officer’s attorney to call martial arts instructor as expert witness to justify takedown


Eric Parker, Madison police officer recommended for termination after the incident involving
Sureshbhai Patel on Feb. 6 (Photo: Limestone County Sheriff’s Office)

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The attorney for the Madison Police officer accused of violating a man’s civil rights filed paperwork to have a local martial arts instructor called as an expert witness to justify a takedown that left a man partially paralyzed.

Madison Police Officer Eric Parker is accused of violating the civil rights of Sureshbhai Patel while investigating a call about a suspicious person. Video from an incident in Feb. shows Parker slamming Patel to the ground, leaving Patel partially paralyzed.

Paker’s attorney plans to call Johnny Lee Smith, president of Triad Martial Arts, Inc., as an expert witness in the area of police training, defensive tactics, and police use of force. The attorney plans to have Smith testify to justify the stop, frisk, and use of force against Patel.

In the filing, Parker’s attorney said,

“Mr. Smith’s testimony is expected to opine that Officer Parker’s stop of Mr. Patel was justified; that reasonable suspicion existed for Officer Parker to conduct a ‘Terry Frisk’ of Mr. Patel; that Officer Parker was justified in using force against Mr. Patel; the amount of force used by Officer Parker was justified under the totality of the circumstances and complied with current law and department policy; and that it does not appear that Officer Parker intentionally tried to hurt Mr. Patel.”

Triad Martial Arts’s website lists Smith as a certified specialized instructor by the Alabama Peace Officers’ Standards and Training Commission.

Parker pleaded not guilty to deprivation of civil rights, a felony charge, at his arraignment in April. He is set to go to trial in federal court on  Sept. 1.


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