NEW YORK (TIP): Cutting across color and political lines, political and community leaders have in one voice condemned the brutal assault by a police officer on an old man on a visit from India . Sureshbhai Patel was smashed to the ground on February 6 while he was taking a walk in the town of Madison.
The assault damaged his spine, as a result of which Patel is partially paralyzed. Governor of Alabama Robert Bentley offered apologies for the police officer’s conduct and spoke with Patel’s son.
US lawmakers condemn police assault on Indian grandfather
WASHINGTON (TIP): Several US lawmakers condemned the police assault on an Indian grandfather who was slammed to the ground by a police officer in Alabama – while he was out for a walk in the neighborhood – leaving him partially paralyzed as donations poured in for the victim.
The police officer Eric Parker, who assaulted Sureshbhai Patel, 57, Feb 6 while he was taking a walk in front of his son Chirag Patel’s house in a Madison, Alabama suburb was arrested Thursday and Police Chief Larry Muncey has recommended that he be fired.
Parker was released on $1,000 bond from the Limestone County Jail. A court appearance has been set for him for March 12, according to WAFF-TV, a local news channel,
Patel, who had come from India recently to look after his grandson who was born prematurely, filed a lawsuit Thursday saying his civil rights were violated. It seeks an unspecified amount of money. According to the lawsuit, Patel said he tried to tell the officers that he doesn’t speak English, saying “No English. Indian. Walking.”
Both police videos show two officers eventually forcing Patel to the ground with his hands behind his back.
One police video captured an officer asking Patel, “Did you bite your lip?” as he remained on the ground. The officers repeatedly attempted to get Patel to “stand up” so they could move him to a patrol car.
According to the lawsuit, Patel was paralyzed in his arms and legs after officers forced him to the ground, his face bloodied.
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki when asked Friday whether the department was sending any officials to Alabama to meet the victim along with Indian officials told reporters that “I don’t believe there’s a role for the State Department here.”
“We certainly wish Mr. Patel a full recovery from his injuries. Our thoughts are with his family,” she said declining further comment as “this case is under investigation.”
The lone Indian Congressman Ami Bera, who is also co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the incident “horrible and tragic.”Noting that the FBI has opened an investigation, he said: “Moving forward, we must come together as a nation to tackle the very real issues our minority communities face, and to rebuild trust and understanding among law enforcement agencies and the diverse communities that they serve.”
Several members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) including chair Judy Chu, Michael Honda, Ted Lieu, Jan Schakowsky and Grace Meng also condemned the use of excessive police force against Sureshbhai Patel.
“In no way should the color of someone’s skin or their limited English proficiency lead to the type of confusion and unreasonable use of force that left Mr. Patel partially paralyzed,” said Chu.
“As we await the FBI’s findings, I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to ensure that this type of profiling and excessive force is no longer permitted by law enforcement,” she said.
Meanwhile, according to the Washington Post donations have been pouring into GoFundMe account set by a member of the Indian community, who is not related to the family, to help with Patel’s medical bills and other expenses.
That GoFundMe page has collected more than $50,000 in donations for the family as of late Friday morning. The fund is trying to raise $100,000 for Patel, who has no insurance. Patel’s lawyer Hank Sherrod told The Post Friday that Indian Americans from all over the country have contacted him directly about sending checks to the family to cover medical bills.