This is an updated story about the Indian man brutally slammed to the ground and paralyzed by an Alabama “hero” cop:
The man, 57-year-old Sureshbhai Patel, doesn’t speak English and was slammed to the ground face-first by an officer when he didn’t respond to commands. But he had committed no crime, the Madison police chief said.
Officer Eric Parker was arrested and is being fired. He has not commented publicly, and court records were not available Friday to show whether he has a lawyer.
Patel filed a lawsuit Thursday after two officers stopped him Feb. 6 in Madison, where he was visiting his son’s family. His injuries include partial paralysis but he hopes for a full recovery, according to the lawsuit and Patel’s lawyer. The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of money.
Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesman for India’s External Affairs Ministry, said the government took the incident “very seriously” and was in contact with the U.S. mission in New Dehli.
The government also will contact officials in Washington and Alabama, Akbaruddin said in New Dehli.
“What we will communicate is that we are extremely disturbed,” he said. “This is a matter of concern for us, and India and the U.S. as open pluralist societies need to address these issues and find ways in a mature manner so that these are aberrations and are not the norm.”
The incident began when a man called police complaining that a “skinny black guy” was wandering about his neighborhood and peering toward garages. He said the man had been seen wandering the day before as well.
Police arrived in patrol cars within minutes and found Patel walking in his son’s neighborhood.
Video shot from inside one of the cruisers shows two officers walking toward the man on the sidewalk and attempting to talk to him.
“What’s going on, sir?” asks one of the officers. “You’re what? India?”
Police pepper the man with questions about what he is doing and where he is going, but answers are inaudible and someone on the recording is heard saying, “no English.” Patel appears to try to walk away and one of the officers warns: “Do not jerk away from me again.”
One of the officers, neither of whom is identified, restrains Patel by pulling his arms behind his back and then slams him face-first into the ground less than 90 seconds after the confrontation began.
“He don’t speak a lick of English,” one of the officers says as another officer arrives.
Attorney Hank Sherrod says the man was stopped and hurt at least partly because of his dark brown skin.
As word of Patel’s treatment and injuries spread, a site established on gofundme.com to help cover medical and other expenses generated more than $64,000 in donations by midday Friday. Sherrod said Patel does not have insurance.