India

Alabama governor apologises for police 'assault' on Indian

Sureshbhai Patel in Hospital in Alabama in this undated family handout photo Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Sureshbhai Patel left the hospital on Monday after surgery

The governor of the US state of Alabama has apologised to the Indian government for the treatment of an Indian man left partially paralysed after being thrown to the ground by a policeman.

Robert Bentley said the policemen used "excessive force" on Sureshbhai Patel, 57, earlier this month.

The officer involved was charged with the assault but has pleaded not guilty.

Mr Patel, who had recently arrived in the US, has filed a legal case alleging race played a part in the incident.

He was walking outside his son's home in an Alabama suburb when police said they received a call from a neighbour about a suspicious person.

Footage from police cameras showed Mr Patel - who speaks no English - trying to walk away when the officers approached him. They detain him and eventually shove him to the ground.

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

Mr Patel suffered injuries, including partial paralysis in his leg. His lawyer said he was now in rehabilitation after leaving hospital on Monday.

Mr Bentley's office released a letter to Indian general consul Ajit Kumar a day after the two men met to discuss the case.

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

"I deeply regret the unfortunate use of excessive force by the Madison Police Department... and for the injuries sustained by Mr Patel."

The governor said the state would investigate the incident along with the FBI. Police officials in Madison have apologised to Mr Patel and his family.

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