Officer Eric Parker, 26, had been on paid administrative leave since the incident, but will return to active duty after completing additional training.
“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,” Major Jim Cooke, the acting chief of the Madison Police Department posted to Facebook.
A federal grand jury indicted Parker for civil rights violations after a dashcam video showed him assaulting Sureshbhai Patel, an innocent grandfather out for a morning stroll on February 6, 2015. The attack left Patel temporarily paralyzed from spinal cord injuries, and was a result of not understanding the officer’s English-language commands.
The morning of the incident, he was taking a morning walk when a neighbor called the police claiming he was concerned about a strange man walking down the street. The neighbor described the gentleman as “a skinny black guy, he’s got a toboggan on, he’s really skinny.”
When police arrived, Patel could not understand their commands or what the situation was. This resulted in Parker throwing Patel face-first to the ground while holding his hands behind his back.
At the time, the department issued a public apology to the family and arrested and fired Parker. He was locally charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor to which he has pleaded not guilty. Charges against him were dropped by the Alabama attorney general in May.
Parker also faced two federal civil rights trials, but jurors were deadlocked both times. US District Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala acquitted Parker in May, believing that a third trial would end with the same result.
"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," Cooke said. "This decision was based on the review of all departmental and court documentation."
A federal lawsuit filed against Parker and the department by Patel is still pending.
"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," Patel's attorney, Hank Sherrod, said in a statement to NBC.
"They're basically saying Parker acted as we've trained him to act," Sherrod said.