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Assault cuffs on US cop

Officer faces axe for attack without provocation

  • Published 14.02.15
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Sureshbhai Patel

Madison (Alabama), Feb. 13 (Agencies): A US police officer has been charged with assault and will be fired after the authorities said he badly injured an Indian man whom he had stopped to question as the man was walking through his son's neighbourhood.

Sureshbhai Patel, 57, has filed a lawsuit seeking compensation and the FBI has opened an investigation. The lawsuit, filed yesterday, claims that his injuries include partial paralysis. His son said his father had to undergo surgery to fuse two vertebrae in his spine.

Hours after the suit was filed, Madison police chief Larry Muncey announced that the officer, Eric Parker, would be fired. Parker has been arrested.

It was alleged that Patel was wrongfully assaulted without any provocation just because he did not know English and was unable to answer their questions.

"I sincerely apologise to Mr Patel, Mr Patel's family and our community. We strive to exceed expectations. Additionally FBI would be conducting a parallel inquiry to ascertain if there were any federal violations," Muncey said after releasing audio and videos related to the episode.

The incident occurred last Friday when Parker responded to a call from the neighbourhood about a suspicious person walking onto driveways and looking into garages, department officials said in a statement.

Parker and other officers stopped Patel and tried talking to him but he spoke little English, authorities said.

The officers tried patting Patel down but he put his hands in his pockets and pulled away, police said. A video released by police shows an officer throwing Patel to the ground.

Later, after Patel was in cuffs, the video shows officers trying to lift him to his feet but Patel's knees buckle and the officers help him back to the ground. Officers then try to clean him up, picking things off of his clothing. Patel was taken to a local hospital, the police said.

When Patel was stopped, he told police "no English", and repeated his son's house number, family attorney Hank Sherrod told AL.com. Sherrod claims Patel was accosted because of his brown skin.

Chirag, Patel's son, has told local news media that his father has only been to America once before and is visiting to help care for his grandson while he pursues a graduate degree. "He was just walking on the sidewalk as he does all the time," Patel told AL.com. "This is a good neighbourhood. I didn't expect anything to happen."

Patel said his father had to undergo surgery to fuse two vertebrae in his spine after being taken to the ground. Patel said his father is still unable to move his left leg.

Muncey said Patel committed no crime and that the department is asking for the community's patience while it investigates. No attorney was immediately listed for Parker.