Officer Eric Parker has been charged with third degree assault. The Madison Police Chief Larry Muncey of the jurisdiction where the incident took place, has dismissed Parker from service.
In police videos shot from a patrol car dashcam, Parker is seen brutally tripping Patel, 57, causing him to fall face down on the asphalt sidewalk, after stopping him in response to a call from a neighbor reporting the Indian for suspicious loitering.
Meanwhile, Indian-Americans in Los Angeles gathered to show support for Patel. A large group including women and children joined the rally on Feb 14 in Artesia.
Holding up placards, the participants expressed their support to Patel’s family and demanded police review their training methods and standard operating procedures. They commended the Police Chief for promptly suspending the officer involved. They highlighted the fact that this was not an isolated incident.adding that it is now the responsibility of the community to educate relatives visiting from India on how the police system works here.
Some of the placards displayed said “It could be my grandfather”, “Tone Down Police Aggression”, “Jusice for Suresh Patel”, “Prayers with Sureshbhai Patel”. Severals US Lawnmakers condemned the police assault . The lone Indian Congressman Ami Bera, 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 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 paralysed,” 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.
Patel, was slammed to the ground by a police officer while he was out for a walk in the neighborhood.
The assault took place on Feb 6 while Patel was taking a walk in front of his son Chirag Patel’s house in a Madison, Alabama suburb. The officer was arrested Feb 12 and Police Chief Larry Muncey recommended that he be fired. A court appearance has been set for him for March 12. Patel, who had come from India recently to look after his grandson who was born prematurely, filed a lawsuit Feb 12 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 paralysed in his arms and legs after officers forced him to the ground, his face bloodied. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki when asked Feb 13 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. Patel’s lawyer Hank Sherrod said Indian-Americans from all over the country have contacted him directly about sending checks to the family to cover medical bills. The FBI is currently conducting a “parallel inquiry” to determine if any federal violations occurred. The Washington Post cited a spokesman for the FBI as saying that the agency became involved shortly after the Feb 6 incident and it is being treated as a civil rights investigation. (Agencies)