Alabama Cop Faces Federal Charges in Brutality Case

Visitor from India, 57, was left partially paralyzed while out for a walk
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 27, 2015 1:12 PM CDT
Sureshbhai Patel is shown in a bed at Huntsville Hospital in Huntsville, Ala.   (AP Photo/Chirag Patel)

(Newser) – A former Alabama police officer has been charged with violating the civil rights of an Indian man who was injured during a violent confrontation in February. Former Madison police officer Eric Parker is charged with using unreasonable force that left Sureshbhai Patel hospitalized. He was slammed face-first to the ground in the confrontation, which was captured on video. Parker will plead not guilty, defense attorney Robert Tuten said. "We are shocked, disappointed, and overwhelmed by all the ways Eric Parker is coming under attack," Tuten said. "However, we are looking forward to seeing the indictment and having our day in court."

But US Attorney Joyce Vance said people "must be able to trust the police." "Law enforcement officers who violate their oath to protect and use excessive force must be brought to justice," she said in a statement. Patel was visiting relatives when police were called to a suburban neighborhood where he was walking Feb. 6. The 57-year-old grandfather's injuries included partial paralysis. Parker, 26, of Toney has since been fired and faces a state assault charge. Patel also has filed a civil lawsuit. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley previously apologized to the Indian government for the treatment of Patel, calling it a case of "excessive force."

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