An Indian grandfather, who was forcedly assaulted by an American police officer earlier this year, was slammed to the ground and left paralysed in 101 seconds after encountering police despite pleading five times that he knows no English, a US court has been told.
The retrial of police officer Eric Parker, accused of forcedly assaulting 58-year-old Sureshbhai Patel that left him partially paralysed, began this week in a federal court in Alabama.
Parker is charged with violating the civil rights of Patel following an encounter in a Madison neighbourhood off County Line Road on February 6.
Patel, who was visiting his son in Alabama to meet his newly born grandson, was slammed to ground and left paralysed in 101 seconds after encountering the police early this year despite him pleading as many as five times that he knows no English, federal prosecutors said.
As the retrial of Parker began in Alabama, Assistant US Attorney Robert Posey told the jury that the grand father told the police officer “no English” five times.
Patel said “India” three times and pointed to his son’s home and kept trying to walk officers toward the home, Posey told the federal jury yesterday. Patel made no sudden movements, he was quoted as saying by Al.Com.
Presenting a strong case, Posey sought 10 years imprisonment for Parker for using excessive force in the leg sweep takedown that left Patel in need of spinal surgery.
However, appearing on behalf of Parker, defence attorney Robert Tuten told the jury that the escalation of force was largely the fault of Patel.
“When you come to the US. We expect you to follow our laws and speak our language. Mr Patel bears as much responsibility for this as anyone,” he said.
Claiming that Patel understands the word “stop”, Tuten alleged that despite this he walked two steps, then seven steps and then nine more steps as police attempted to question him. Thereafter, Patel reached for his pockets, which could have contained a weapon, he said.
Parker’s has 14 members in the jury, of which 11 are women and three men. During the trial, Posey alleged that Parker threatened Patel. “Mr Parker kicks Mr Patel’s leg out from under him and at the same time pushes his head and shoulders full force into the frozen ground,” he alleged.
Tuten alleged that Patel not taking his hand out of his pocket was dangerous for Parker. If you act like a criminal you are going to be treated like one.
“It’s unfortunate that he didn’t speak English. But in America that’s the language that we speak,” he said. Patel was on a walk when the incident happened.