A federal jury indicted a former Alabama police officer on one charge of unreasonable force against an Indian man, whom was taking a walk in his family’s neighborhood. On Feb. 6, Sureshbhai Patel was stopped by Officers Eric Parker and his trainee Andrew Slaughter, after responding to a non-emergency call from an unidentified man, who claimed he saw a “skinny black guy” walking in the suburb. Minutes later, the officers arrived at the scene and started to grill Patel on why he was in the area. Patel, who doesn’t speak English, came to Madison, Al to help his son take care of a new grandchild.
Patel tried to relay to the officers; he didn’t understand them when Parker suddenly slammed him to the ground, Parker claimed he attempted to frisk Patel when he walked away. Patel, who was unarmed, suffered damage to his spine, which resulted in being paralyzed in his legs and arms. The New York Times is reporting a grand jury decided they had enough evidence against Parker to indict on Thursday. The indictment alleged, Parker prevented Patel of his rights to be free from the unreasonable use of force by the police. The charge carries a sentence of 10 years in prison of convicted.
Patel underwent surgery and therapy and has now regained some use of his limbs and can walk a short distance with the help of a walker. Once the incident became public, Parker was fired from the police department, but he has appealed his termination and is currently on paid leave pending the outcome of his appeal.
In a released statement, the Justice Department claimed:
Parker’s actions deprived the man in Madison of his right under the U.S. Constitution to be secure from unreasonable seizures, which includes the right to be free from unreasonable force by someone acting under color of law