India

US policeman charged for pushing Indian man

  • 13 February 2015
  • From the section India
Sureshbhai Patel in Hospital in Alabama in this undated family handout photo Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Sureshbhai Patel's family said he had to have surgery to fuse two vertebrae

A US policeman has been charged with assault after a 57-year-old Indian man was thrown to the ground, an incident he says left him partially paralysed.

Footage from police cameras shows a confrontation between Sureshbhai Patel and two officers in an Alabama suburb.

Mr Patel speaks no English and tries to walk away from the officers, who eventually shove him to the ground.

He has filed a legal case accusing the officers of racism, and the FBI is also investigating.

Police officials in Madison, Alabama, apologised to Mr Patel and his family at a news conference on Thursday.

They said one of the officers involved in last Friday's incident had been arrested, and officials had recommended that he be fired.

The officer involved "did not meet the high standards and expectations of the Madison Police Department", said Madison Police Chief Larry Muncey.

Media captionDashcam footage shows police officers approaching Mr Patel, before pushing him to the ground.

Mr Patel had only recently arrived in the US to help care for his grandson, who was born prematurely.

He was walking outside his son's home on Friday morning when police said they received a call from a neighbour about a suspicious person.

According to the civil rights complaint filed in court on Thursday, Mr Patel told the police officers who stopped him "no English, Indian", and gave his son's house number.

A police officer then threw him abruptly to the ground, injuring him seriously, the complaint said.

Mr Patel's son, Chirag Patel, told the local media in Alabama that his father had to undergo surgery to fuse two vertebrae in his spine and that he was still unable to move his left leg.