MADISON, Ala. - Officer Eric Parker will return from administrative leave today. He will be assigned to the Madison Police Department Training Unit until he completes his "required re-certifications." At that point, he will receive his duty assignment.
That's all according to a memo released by Major Jim Cooke, acting chief of the department. The memo reads in full:
Officer Eric Parker will return from administrative leave today and will be assigned to the MPD Training Unit until he completes his required re-certifications. After his training is complete, he will receive his duty assignment.
Chief Muncey was placed on administrative leave in April, and as Acting Chief, I assumed responsibility for the personnel issues surrounding Officer Parker. Since Officer Parker’s acquittal of all federal charges and the dismissal by the Attorney General of the misdemeanor charges against him, I have extensively reviewed all of the documentation regarding the case, and I have made the factual determination that Officer Parker’s actions in February 2015 did not amount to a policy violation. This decision was based on the review of all departmental and court documentation.
I realize that some will question my decision. I cannot share the internal documentation that led me to this conclusion, but I strongly encourage you to read the Memorandum Opinion issued by Federal Judge Madeline H. Haikala after Officer Parker’s second federal trial, wherein she wrote, “[T]he evidence demonstrates that Officer Parker complied with MPD policy regarding preliminary investigations of suspicious individuals and MPD’s ‘Response to Resistance’ policy…Officer Parker made a split-second decision in a rapidly evolving situation rather than a premeditated decision to use violent force.” The opinion is an in-depth treatment of the law and its application to Officer Parker’s actions and I believe it will offer clarity to those who currently do not understand the decision I have made.
It is important to underscore the fact that, despite rumors to the contrary, my decision was not influenced by any person or group. My decision is based solely on the facts of this situation and the application thereto of federal law, state law, and local policies and regulations.
I want to remind everyone that there remains pending a civil suit stemming from the events of last February. Therefore, the Madison Police Department will have no further comment until that case is concluded.
I assure the citizens of this community that there have been—and will continue to be—officers, dispatchers, support personnel, and command staff working 24/7/365 to keep Madison the safe city that it has been and still is. And as we continue to serve and protect, we must also move forward. It’s time.
Major Jim Cooke
A federal judge acquitted a Madison Police captain of contempt charges. A Limestone County Judge dropped criminal assault charges against Parker after Alabama Attorney Luther Strange filed a motion asking such.
Parker was on administrative leave following his takedown of an Indian grandfather, and the Chief of Madison Police had recommended his termination. That chief, Larry Muncey, is on voluntary administrative leave after being held in contempt of court during Parker's first civil rights trial. This latest development seems to go back on what Muncey had suggested the department do.
The man Parker injured in the takedown, Sureshbhai Patel, has an attorney who is representing him in a Federal civil case against Parker and Madison. Florence attorney Hank Sherrod, issued this statement following Parker's reinstatement:
"The decision of the City of Madison to reinstate Eric Parker is both shocking and disappointing. The Patel family never imagined that the City would voluntarily reinstate Parker. Apparently, Parker is not an “exception to the rule,” and the City's decision shows Parker’s brutal assault of Patel was simply business as usual for its police department. Sadly, Chief Muncey's decision to do the right thing is proving to have been a futile gesture."