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FBI Probes Alabama Police Use of Force Against Grandfather from India

Image: FBI Probes Alabama Police Use of Force Against Grandfather from India
Sureshbhai Patel is seen at Huntsville Hospital. (Handout/Reuters/Landov)

Thursday, 12 Feb 2015 04:08 PM

The FBI is investigating an Alabama police department's use of force against a grandfather recently arrived from India, who was left partially paralyzed after he was thrown to the ground on a morning walk, the agency said on Thursday.

Sureshbhai Patel, 57, also sued the city and the two officers involved in a civil complaint filed on Thursday, alleging race factored into his treatment, his attorney said.

The police department in Madison, Alabama, has suspended one of the officers involved in last Friday's incident pending a review. The agency scheduled a Thursday afternoon news conference to discuss its internal investigation.

Patel, who speaks no English, moved from India to Alabama about two weeks ago to help his son's family care for a 17-month-old child, said his lawyer, Henry Sherrod.

He was walking on the sidewalk outside his son's home around 9 a.m., when police said they received a call about a suspicious person who reportedly was looking into garages, according to the lawsuit in the U.S. Northern District of Alabama.

Patel told police officers who stopped him: "No English, Indian," and gave the house number for his son, the suit said.

A police officer then tossed Patel, who weighs about 130 pounds, to the ground, according to the complaint.

He was severely injured, requiring surgery to relieve pressure on his spinal cord, according to the complaint. He has regained some movement in his arms and legs but remains very weak, his attorney said.

"I just can't believe what they did to this very gentle man who wanted nothing more than to go out for a walk," Sherrod said.

Madison police said Patel put his hands in his pockets and tried to pull away as officers patted him down, according to a statement issued on Monday.

The department acknowledged forcing him to the ground, resulting in injury.

"The Madison Police Department takes all use of force incidents seriously and reviews them as a matter of policy," the department said.

Patel's attorney noted that police had released no information from the call that led to the incident.

"I think that there was no call, and that Mr. Patel was taken down because he was brown," Sherrod said.

The results of the federal probe will be turned over to the U.S. Justice Department, said Paul Daymond, a spokesman for the FBI division in Birmingham.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
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The FBI is investigating an Alabama police department's use of force against a grandfather recently arrived from India, who was left partially paralyzed after he was thrown to the ground on a morning walk, the agency said on Thursday.
fbi, alabama, police, force, grandfather, india
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2015-08-12
Thursday, 12 Feb 2015 04:08 PM
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