Ala. Cops Partially Paralyze Indian Man Out for a Walk

Neighbor called in suspicious activity
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2015 12:24 PM CST
Ala. Cops Partially Paralyze Indian Man Out for a Walk

A 57-year-old Indian citizen visiting his son in Alabama was "roughed up" by Madison police as he walked through the neighborhood on Friday, leaving him partly paralyzed, reports. A neighbor called police to report a suspicious man looking in garages; the neighbor "did not recognize the subject and thought him to be suspicious," according to a police statement. An attorney for Sureshbhai Patel and his family, however, says the man was doing no such thing. "This is broad daylight, walking down the street. There is nothing suspicious about Mr. Patel other than he has brown skin," the lawyer says. Police came upon Patel, who told them, "No English. Indian. Walking," and his son's house number, WHNT reports. When an officer tried to frisk him, things went wrong. The statement says Patel put his hands in his pockets, "attempted to pull away," and was ultimately "forced to the ground, which resulted in injury."

But, again, the lawyer disputes this, saying Patel was given a patdown and did not pull away, and that for some reason one of the two officers present pulled Patel's arm up behind him and threw him face-first to the ground. He was initially unable to move his legs and had only limited motion and feeling in his arms; he had two vertebrae fused due to swelling in his spine, and can now move his right leg somewhat and can raise both arms, but is still paralyzed on the left side and cannot form a tight grip. In order to regain full motion, Patel's son has been told months of therapy will be necessary. The officer involved has been suspended, and police are investigating the use of force; the captain says both audio and video recordings are available, though they have not been made public. The family plans to sue. "That officer doesn't need to be on the streets," says their lawyer. A GoFundMe campaign has been set up for Patel. (More police brutality stories.)

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