Police Officer Charged With Assault In Arrest That Paralyzed Indian Man Unable To Communicate With Officers

54dd24f9b2d11.imageMadison (Alabama) Officer Eric Parker has been suspended and charged with third-degree assault after an incident that left Sureshbhai Patel, 57, paralyzed with a spinal injury. Parker and other officers were responding to a report of a suspicious man. A videotape shows Parker and other officers pulling up near Patel in two patrol cars while Patel was walking on other people’s property. When he tried to step away, Parker threw him to the ground causing the spinal injury.

Patel has regained movement except in his right leg according to his complaint. He had just recently arrived in the country to take care of his 17-month-old grandson.

When confronted, Patel said ‘no English’, and repeated his son’s house number. However, his movement away from the officers led to the take down.

The video tape below could offer Parker a defense that he was trying to immobilize a suspect and threw him on what appears grass. It can be argued that such a take down would not normally result in a serious injury.

The better angle can be found in this videotape from the dash cam:

Patel was not a suspect in a particular crime. He was not armed and was clearly unable to communicate. Moreover, his movement seemed very slight before prompting the take down by the officers. It is clearly excessive in my view, but there is likely different opinions on whether this should be charged as a crime as opposed to litigated in torts? What do you think?

89 thoughts on “Police Officer Charged With Assault In Arrest That Paralyzed Indian Man Unable To Communicate With Officers”

  1. Patel must have been unbelievably frightened – on the ground with a spinal injury, unable to communicate that he was injured.

    I believe the call had been that Patel was wandering around in people’s yards, but at the time the officers pulled up, he was on the sidewalk.

    I agree with Darren’s analysis. It was an accident, but a takedown seems unnecessarily harsh given the circumstances, and they hadn’t tried to make him sit down or hold onto him. The injury was surprising and tragic – you wouldn’t expect it to happen on grass. It looked like he went head first. If he hadn’t been injured, I would have expected training and a reprimand, but the injury makes this bad.

    I’ve been on ride alongs years ago where my ability to speak Spanish immediately dialed situations down. People can get agitated when they can’t communicate, and feel like they’re in trouble. I used to be fluent, although I’ve forgotten a lot.

    I hope the department trains its officers better on what to do in situations such as this where the suspect does not speak English, is deaf, or handicapped, or otherwise unable to communicate. No matter the outcome of the criminal trial, they need to take responsibility and pay this man for his injuries.

  2. Take another look at the 2nd video. He was thrown down in a driveway, not on a lawn. More than one cop should be named in the civil lawsuit because more than one was involved.

  3. p.s.
    The lawsuit will be settled and the taxpayers will be left on the hook once again. The law should be that such settlements come from pensions… and any crimes committed be served with time sentences being that the element of public trust, when violated, scars the public into fearing similar treatment by future police officers. A public that knows that there is a Justice system prepared to protect the public from out of control officer aggression is a shield the public deserves from these poorly trained and hired individuals that serve us up for dinner.

  4. I must be old. When I grew up I was taught to say hello to my neighbors instead of calling the police to come beat them up for me. As a result, neighborhood BBQ’s were always friendly and welcoming of friends and family… My guess is this family learned the hard way that American society is becoming less friendly and welcoming and the village no longer helps raise the child.

    Here’s an interesting “prank” video that highlights one aspect of our social disintegration… Just as the police saw what they wanted to see with Mr, Patel as being ‘non-responsive’ and ‘pulling away’ that deserved a face plant with a broken spine and loss of use of his limbs, in this video people hear what they want to hear. Most of which comes from being socially conditioned into hearing certain phrases spoken in certain ways and by certain people and should an aspect of that triangulation is askew, we either reinterpret it to be what we’re conditioned to, or act confused and posture.

    My only questions are this: Why are the police being conditioned to respond aggressively to non threatening situations, and who is doing the training? Who protect the people FROM these types of trained and conditioned police officers?

    (caution – verbal dialogue not work safe)

  5. How could anyone see the spinal flex and the legs flying up in the air behind the back, and not just plain HURT! A little, old, relatively frail gentleman — I was surprised they didn’t plain break him in half! I expect his bones are not what they would be if he had been raised on an American diet; maybe that’s why the cops (and several here?) seemed to be so surprised at the level of injury.

  6. What idiots. The dispatcher said “He doesn’t speak English.” Then the cop says “I SAID don’t walk away from me! You understand?” No, you idiot. You were just told he doesn’t speak English…
    Later the cop says, “I don’t know what his problem is. He won’t listen!”

  7. no training is right! the cops should have ems training to know how to handle people after they break their backs. first they broke his back then they picked him up and dangled his feet in the air then they made him sit upright with a broken back. the other day i got a phone call from one of those telephone solicitors who collect money for the poor widows of fallen officers only now they’re asking for money to “retrain” the cops. wonder how all those poor widows are going to get along now that the money won’t go to them. i would never give them money and i tell them why. first of all cops have big life insurance coverage to take care of the widows. second my tax money has already paid for their training. it should be against the law for them to call people and ask for money. can’t they be happy with the millions they confiscate from random traffic stops and home invasions.

  8. Typical Southern cop when dealing with a black man…assume guilt before assessing the situation.

  9. It was clearly a 342 and the officer responded with a 856. No need to use common sense. No need to wake up the brain.

  10. I laughed about that, too, fiver, then did a little research.


    “What’s the origin of using “toboggan” to mean a knit cap?”

    I’d always know the word “toboggan” to mean a sled. In the last couple years I’ve met people who insisted on calling their winter knit caps “toboggans.” All of these people happened to be from either Kentucky or Tennessee. Wikipedia mentions that

    In the United States south and midwest, especially Appalachia, it is often called a “toboggan”.

    but there’s no info about origin. When and where did this usage come from?”


    Etymonline.com lists this shift in the late 20’s, probably because it’s the type of cap you would wear while tobagganing. I imagine it was probably first called a “toboggan cap”, and then eventually the “cap” was just dropped.

  11. These cops were responding to a call complaining of a “skinny black guy,” “in his thirties” wearing a “toboggan.”

    Did anyone see a toboggan?

  12. I have a hard time seeing the justification for assaulting an old man who had done nothing wrong. The police are not allowed to even arrest him on the tip or the call that was made. Even with an actual criminal trespass, most of the time from what I know of law, if you leave when ordered to do so, by either the property owner or cops, you are not arrested. So this stop while legal, does not mean the cops had justification for putting him in cuffs or holding him, much less assaulting him. So I think that the cop needs to face criminal charges for nothing else other than to break the cycle of the police thinking they are above the law. I doubt that he will be convicted given the public bias for police, but this does need to be treated in a criminal court.

  13. The IRS does the same thing to small businesses every day, severing their spinal cord (taking all their assets) when no crime has been committed.

    There’s no video, though, so ha ha ha.

    The government sees us as cattle to be herded or sheep to be shorn. The local cops, state troopers, IRS, DEA, DNR, Medicare, school districts, and the rest have unlimited power to crush you when the mood strikes them. You are guilty until proven innocent.

    And you cannot even rely on ‘keeping your nose clean’ to stay free from harm. This is how the Soviet system operated, relying on random terror to keep people in line. We’re moving quickly in that direction.

    It works, sort of, but only for about two generations, because you have to watch the watchers and you cannot force people to comply constantly. They resist in a million small ways, require bribery to perform even simple tasks, and things grind to a halt..

Comments are closed.