Madison police officer Eric Parker was on Friday arrested on charges of assaulting without any provocation 57-year-old Indian Sureshbhai Patel while he was walking down the street outside his son’s new home. The assault left Patel partially paralysed.
At a press conference, Madison City Police chief Larry Muncey announced that he also recommended that Parker be fired for the use of force against a man who committed no crime, did not speak English and could not understand the commands.
“As a result of the investigations, I found that Mr (Eric) Parkers’s actions did not meet the high standard and expectations of the Madison City Police Department,” he said, adding that he has proposed termination of officer Parker, who has now been arrested for third-degree assault.
He apologised to Patel and his family and said the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will also be conducting a probe into the matter. “I sincerely apologise to Mr Patel, Mr Patel’s family and our community. We strive to exceed expectations,” he said. “Additionally FBI would be conducting a parallel inquiry to ascertain if there were any federal violations.”
Muncey also released audio and videos related to the incident, which took place on February 6. A week before, Patel had arrived in the US to assist his son and daughter-in-law in caring for their 17-month-old child.
In the video, Patel is seen walking quietly. He is not seen peeping at any of the houses or garage as the police were told in an non-emergency call they received from a neighbour. Two police officers are seen approaching Patel and asking him questions — like name, address and identity card.
Patel is heard saying “No English” and pointing towards his son’s home. Soon one of the police officers, later identified as Parker, is seen violently throwing Patel on the ground and threatening him not to leave. It is at this time it appears Patel was paralysed, apparently by shock.
Henry F Sherrod, the attorney for the Patel family, filed a lawsuit on Thursday in connection with the incident in the northern district court of Alabama. “We are seeking that Patel be fully compensated,” he said. Sherrod claims Patel was accosted because of his brown skin. Patel’s son Chirag said his father had to undergo surgery to fuse two vertebrae in his spine. He said his father was still unable to move one of his legs.
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