Alabama Police beating leaves 57-yr-old Gujarat man hospitalised in US

Madison Police issued a statement saying the officer involved had been suspended, and his use of force was being investigated.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Updated: February 12, 2015 12:53 pm
Suresh suffered fused vertebrae in the assault.(Picture courtesy: al.com) Suresh suffered fused vertebrae in the assault. (Picture courtesy: al.com)

Police in Madison, Alabama last week roughed up a 57-year-old Indian citizen who was walking on the sidewalk outside his son’s home, leaving the older man temporarily paralysed and hospitalised with fused vertebrae, the news web site al.com reported.

The man, Sureshbhai Patel, had committed no crime. Madison Police on Monday issued a statement saying the officer involved had been suspended, and his use of force was being investigated. The statement wished Patel a “speedy recovery”, al.com said.

The report, by Challen Stephens, a reporter and editor based in Huntsville, Alabama, quoted Patel’s son, Chirag, as saying, “He was just walking on the sidewalk as he does all the time… They (the police) put him to the ground.”

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The report said Patel belongs to Pij, and quoted Chirag as saying he had arrived in Madison two weeks ago to help him and his wife look after their 17-month-old son, so that he could pursue a Masters in electrical engineering at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Pij is a small town in the Nadiad taluka of Gujarat’s Kheda district.

The police statement mentioned a “communication barrier”, the report said. Chirag told the reporter that his father speaks Gujarati and some Hindi, but not English.

The report quoted Hank Sherrod, attorney for the family, as saying Patel was walking down the street in “broad daylight”. “There is nothing suspicious about Mr Patel other than he has brown skin,” Sherrod said.

Sherrod told al.com that Patel had told the police officers “no English”, and repeated his son’s house number.
The police statement said they had received a call early on Friday about a man looking in garages among the brick homes just south of the city’s new high school.

“The caller, who lives in the neighbourhood did not recognise the subject and thought him to be suspicious,” read the statement, which was quoted by al.com.

The police statement said the officer attempted to frisk Patel, and that he “began putting his hands in his pockets”. “Officers attempted to pat the subject down and he attempted to pull away. The subject was forced to the ground, which resulted in injury.”

Sherrod told al.com that there were two officers, and that Patel was patted down and he had not pulled away. Sherrod said one officer then pulled Patel’s arm up behind him and slung him face first into the ground. He said Patel could not say what happened after that.

“This is just one of those things that doesn’t need to happen… That officer doesn’t need to be on the streets,” the report quoted Sherrod as saying. The attorney alleged the police had escalated to violence without cause and left Patel lying bleeding from his face, paralyzed and in need of paramedics.

Patel was taken by ambulance to Madison Hospital, from where he was transferred to Huntsville Hospital for surgery. He remains hospitalized. The report quoted Chirag as saying his father’s left leg remains paralysed, and that he was uncertain when his father would be able to leave the hospital. Sherrod said the Patel family will sue.

The report described Madison as “a booming bedroom community, home to about 46,000 residents just outside Huntsville”. It is largely white and affluent, with a per capita income almost double the state average, but is also home to many foreign-born professionals. One in 10 residents speak something other than English at home, and 8 per cent of residents were born in another country, the report said.

Chirag went to the US about 10 years ago, married a US citizen, and has been a US citizen himself since 2012. Patel has been approved as a permanent resident of the US, Chirag told al.com.

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  1. A
    anonymous
    Feb 12, 2015 at 1:01 pm
    Why can't US police take some level of training of how to deal with people. You can't treat anyone like a terrorist from the very beginning and that too if the subject is not showing any signs of being a threat. This will make the society more scared of the social systems of dealing with people. If skin colour is a problem, then US should come out and let everyone know in public. Why this hypocrisy? Obama was lecturing a week before about "India's growth is certain based on religious tolerance..etc." I would rather say first clean your own backyard and come out with a change where democracy and human rights are given more importance and then say words like these. Today most of the world blames US for the problems they face and knowingly interfering in other countries and making them worse. Today w of Middle East, Parts of Africa, Asia is in turmoil due to this directly or indirectly. All of us understand, it is very difficult to trust an individual in today's world and like the rest of the world, US has been a victim of terrorism. However we cannot forget, the majority of the society is not like that. Most of the people want peace in their lives. This incident reminds me of Oscar Pistorius who killed his own girlfriend just because he had a suion. I am sure US can be better than that.
    Reply
    1. H
      Harisharan Walia
      Feb 12, 2015 at 10:32 am
      Beating of an innocent migrant Indian by the American Police, is a sample of Obama's tolerance of violence against non whites and migrants.
      Reply
      1. P
        Prahari
        Feb 12, 2015 at 11:22 am
        If he is US citizen then nothing to say here. If not then it is very serious matter. Like this one US citizen must be treated like this finding his fault.
        Reply
        1. P
          Pratap
          Feb 12, 2015 at 12:45 pm
          The US policemen are really psycho.People of USA should change their mindset towards other...
          Reply
          1. S
            santosh satpathy
            Feb 12, 2015 at 1:19 pm
            Where is the Obama lecture this ?? Obama must visit Alabama state to his lectures in racial intolerance prevalent in USA.
            Reply
          2. A
            asdf
            Feb 12, 2015 at 10:43 am
            As a maharashtrian who hates madrasis, bhaiyas, gujjus, and chini gurkhas, I find this offensive that you say US is better than Indians in discrimination
            Reply
            1. A
              Ajay
              Feb 12, 2015 at 10:32 am
              Nothing new. Police atrocities against the coloured in US is a common feature now. And in India, it will not even make it into our papers, for this is absolutely not news worthy here. The difference is that there he can expect some justice now that the news has come out. And he definitely will make some money once he sues the police there. Again in India, nothing will happen to the policeman, and the case will drag on for years in the courts...
              Reply
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                aks
                Feb 12, 2015 at 3:01 pm
                This would never happen in India coz there are no side walks here, oldies have to walk on the road all the time and get themselves killed and no one raises an eyebrow so all Indians who are creating the noise out here should calm down :))
                Reply
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