Alabama Governor apologises for use of ‘excessive force’ on Sureshbhai Patel

The Governor of Alabama Robert Bentley has apologised to the government of India for the use of “excessive force” by a police officer on 57-year-old Sureshbhai Patel, leaving him partially paralysed.

Last Updated: Feb 18, 2015, 10:03 AM IST
Alabama Governor apologises for use of ‘excessive force’ on Sureshbhai Patel

Birmingham, Alabama: The Governor of Alabama Robert Bentley has apologised to the government of India for the use of “excessive force” by a police officer on 57-year-old Sureshbhai Patel, leaving him partially paralysed.

 In a letter to Indian general consul Ajit Kumar, Governor Bently promised that the government will do everything to ensure that justice is served.  The two men had met yesterday to discuss the issue.

"I deeply regret the unfortunate use of excessive force by the Madison Police Dept ... and for the injuries sustained by Mr Patel.  I have instructed a parallel investigation be launched. I wish to assure the Indian government that we will see that justice is done," he said.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is already probing the case.

"Sincere apology for this tragic incident to your government, Mr Patel, and the citizens of India who reside and work in our state," Bentley said.

The incident occurred on the morning of February 6 when while walking down the sidewalk, Patel was confronted by the police after they reportedly got a 911 call from someone in the neighbourhood about a 'suspicious man'.   Patel had in the US a day before the incident to assist his son and daughter-in-law in caring for their 17-month-old child, who was developmentally delayed after a premature birth.

In the video of the incident, Patel is seen walking quietly. He is not seen peeping at any of the houses or garage as the police was told in a non-emergency call it received from a neighbour.

Two policemen are seen approaching Patel and asking him questions - like name, address and identity card.  

The cops were later identified as filed training officer Eric parker and a trainee.

Patel is heard saying "No English" and pointing finger towards his son's home. Soon one of the police officer, later identified as Parker, is seen violently throwing Patel on the ground and threatening him not to leave. It is at this time it appears Patel was paralysed, apparently by shock.

Patel suffered injuries including partial paralysis in his legs, and his attorney said he now is in rehabilitation after leaving a hospital Monday. The man has filed a federal lawsuit over his treatment.

The Madison police chief had apologized during a news conference last week.

Meanwhile, the accused cop Eric Parker pleaded not guilty to assaulting Patel.  He faces an April 29 trial.