An Indian grandfather, Sureshbhai Patel, who was visiting his son in Alabama to meet his newly born grandson, was slammed to ground and left paralysed in 101 seconds after encountering the police early this year, a US court has been told.
The retrial of police officer Eric Parker, accused of violently assaulting the 58-year-old began this week in a federal court in Alabama. The first trial ended early last month with a hung jury, as the jury split 10-2 in favour of acquittal.
Parker is charged with violating the civil rights of Patel following an encounter in a Madison neighbourhood off County Line Road on February 6.
The Indian grandfather slammed to the ground by an Alabama police officer last February told him “no English” five times and said “India” three times, according to US prosecutors.
He also pointed to his son’s home and kept trying to walk officers toward the home, Assistant US Attorney Robert Posey told a Madison jury on Tuesday.
Two fellow officers involved in the incident testified during a retrial that Sureshbhai Patel did not pose any threat. Sureshbhai Patel presented no threat to police, Madison Police Officer Charles Spence told a Huntsville court Wednesday. “To me, he appeared to be in his 70s.”
“There was no criminal conduct to document” by Mr Patel and that no reasonable suspicion existed to lay hands on Mr Patel, testified Lt. Clint Harrell, according to local Al.com. “Even if they are accused of something, you still treat them right.”
Backdrop: The assault of Sureshbhai Patel occurred on February 6, 2015. Patel, a 57-year-old Indian national who was visiting his son in Madison, Alabama, U.S., was seriously injured after being detained by three police officers in a residential neighborhood. Patel had police called on him by a neighborhood resident for alleged suspicious behavior in the neighborhood and did not know how to speak English. There is video footage of the officer slamming Patel to the ground. He had to be hospitalized and is partially paralyzed as a result of the injuries. The incident lead to many accusations by citizens of police brutality and prompted a response from the Indian government. The incident was recorded on film by two police car dashboard cameras.
Former police officer Eric Parker, who is accused of injuring Patel, was fired from the Madison Police Department and charged with third-degree assault. In March 2015, Parker was charged by the FBI with felony civil rights abuse.