Elderly man partially paralysed after being tackled by US cop

Elderly man partially paralysed after being tackled by US cop

The 57-year-old Indian grandfather had arrived in Alabama, in south-eastern US, a week before.

Mr Sureshbhai Patel went for a walk in the neighbourhood early this month.

A short time into the walk, two police officers approached him.

They were responding to a complaint that a "suspicious person" was looking into garages around the neighbourhood, which residents say is usually quiet, the Mail Online reported.

The caller said they did not recognise Mr Patel and claimed he was walking on other people's property.

When the officers arrived on the scene, he said "no English" (meaning he does not speak any English) and repeated his son's house number in a bid to inform them he was in fact a resident.

The US permanent resident stepped away when officers tried to search him, prompting one of them to throw him to the ground.

The police officer's violent action left him bleeding from his face, partially paralysed and in need of surgery to fuse two vertebrae.

Eric Parker, one of the officers who assaulted Mr Patel, was arrested for third-degree assault and fired yesterday.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation will conduct a probe to find out if there were any federal violations in the incident. The police apologised to the Patel family for the assault, Indian news agency Press Trust of India reported.

Mr Larry Muncey, the Madison City chief of police, said: "I sincerely apologise to Mr Patel, Mr Patel's family and our community. We strive to exceed expectations.

"As a result of the investigations, I found that Mr Parker's actions did not meet the high standard and expectations of the Madison City police department."

FUNDS RAISED

Meanwhile, an online fund-raising campaign has raised US$12,000 (S$16,000) to help the Patel family with the medical bills.

Angered by the incident, advocacy group South Asian Americans Living Together said in a statement demanded immediate disciplinary action and termination of the officials concerned.

The Patel family has filed an 11-page lawsuit that alleges his civil rights were violated.


This article was first published on Feb 14, 2015.
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