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. Richard, you should do a ride along and when they get a call tell them you will handle it? Maybe a bouquet of flowers will keep you from getting your a$$ kicked

  2. Paul S, I do not go as far as some in that I have nothing against law enforcement officers approaching members of the public and engaging them in conversation. However, too often force is being used when someone engaged in lawful activities chooses to leave or simply moves in a way the officer doesn’t like. If I am engaged in a lawful activity, an officer has no right to stop me from continuing on my way if I choose not to engage with him in the absence of legally sufficient cause–Even if he thinks I might be up to something nefarious.

    1. Richard – I think the cops have a right to stop and make you identify yourself. I carry ID even going to the common mailbox.

  3. You mean like the two officers that were murdered sitting in their patrol car in New York?

  4. Paul S., but people walking down the street looking at homes are acting lawfully, and an officer does not have the right to use force against them.

    1. Richard – I would agree with the no use of force, but would agree with a stop and check.

  5. Bruce,

    It’s not always a binary choice between dead cop or dead suspect. Cops get a lot of leeway, but their actions still have to meet an objective standard of reasonableness.

  6. Dang…”Laren” = “Karen”….one of these days I will actually learn to proof read.

  7. Laren S said …

    … but at the time the officers pulled up, he was on the sidewalk.

    Given that alone, I do not understand where the police officers felt they had a probable cause to stop an obviously frail old man just walking down a side walk. The police are normally required to observe some infraction or evidence of an earlier one. There was none here. Just walking on a sidewalk is not evidence of anything untoward…and that is all the police saw. Even “stop & frisk” requires some judgment of likely cause. There was none observed here by the officers. None.

    If up to me, the weenie who called in the “threat” should have his butt beaten.

    Even the “bobble heads” here where I live (strangers looking from side to side up driveways while walking down the center of the street) are not arrested or taken down…just told to get on the sidewalk…and perhaps to just move on. If they get all up in the face of the officers, then they might have a problem…a problem actually witnessed by the officers….not some allegation called in by a weenie dink of a person hiding behind his blinds.

    1. Aridog – right now we have a group who are driving through our subdivision with a pickup hauling a trailing and raiding garages whose doors are up and no one in them. They are in and out in minutes. So, people walking down the street looking at homes can be a potential problem.

  8. Bruce, but the cop didn’t have any real reason to believe the man was likely to do him or anyone else harm. That is the significant element that appears to be missing in so many of these cases. There is also an unfortunate presumption underlying your comment that the officer’s safety is worth any injury to anyone else. I agree that we want officers to go home safely at the end of a shift (there is one officer in particular that I very much want coming home safely every day). However, officers also have a responsibility to ensure the safety of members of the public they come into contact with–whether or not there is a suspicion of wrongdoing.

  9. What a bunch of cop haters, The cop thought the man was the suspect, when questioned he backed away, a cop doesn’t know what he’s up against when making a stop, better safe than dead.

  10. Such brutality and indifference towards another definitely deserves the mighty wrist slapping minor misdemeanor charge administered…

  11. The Complaint is provided up there by allysia on the comments at 2:43 this afternoon. The Complaint needs some upgrade. He needs to plead jurisdiction: 28 U.S.C. Section 1331 and 1343 and subsections. He needs to plead the conspiracy section of 42 U.S.C. Section 1985(3). He needs to plead the Fifth Amendment right to be secure in life and liberty and property and due process as well as Fourth and Fourteenth. Here is some language from a similar lawsuit:

    17. All of the aforesaid acts were in violation of the Plaintiffs’ rights secured by:

    a) The Fourth Amendment, to be secure in his person, premises, papers,
    property, and effects and against intrusions, and to be free from unreasonable search and seizure and loss of liberty and property, applicable to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment;

    b) The Fifth Amendment, to be free from compelled statements against
    himself and to be free from deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process of law, applicable to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment;

    c) The Ninth Amendment, to privacy in his premises and personal and family relationships, applicable to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment; and
    d) The Fourteenth Amendment, to due process of law, equal protection of the law, and privileges and immunities of the law, including the rights to life, liberty,
    property, and privacy.

    18. The aforesaid constitutional rights have been clearly established and well-settled since the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1789 and the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment on July 28, 1868, and are enforceable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Civil Rights Act of 1871) and under Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167 (1961).

    19. All of Defendants’ aforesaid acts and omissions were done without warrant, judicial process, or probable cause, and all such conduct violated clearly established constitutional rights which a reasonable police officer would know to be clearly established.

    20. Defendants’ aforesaid acts and omissions, separately and taken together, were impermissible, egregious, conscience-shocking, and a violation of Plaintiff’s aforesaid rights, and a reasonable police officer would have known the same.

    21. Defendants’ acts and omissions were done under the direction and on behalf of the Defendant City of ______as herein alleged, and all Defendants in fact knew it to be illegal, impermissible, egregious, conscience-shocking and violative of Plaintiff’s rights.

    22. Defendants acted pursuant to a conspiracy to deprive Plaintiff of the aforesaid civil rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. Sections 1983 and 1985(3). In particular, the individual defendants and the City of ______ conspired, and in concert with each other in that conspiracy, had an explicit meeting of the minds to conduct themselves as aforesaid and to deprive Plaintiff of his property interests and the equal protection and immunities of the laws secured by the constitutional provisions alleged above. These defendants further conspired to cover up their conduct.

    23. The City of _________ is liable for the conduct of its agents and officers, for the following reasons:
    a) Chief of Police __________ was the policy maker for the City of
    b) The City of conducted police activities under color of law on
    behalf of the City of , including the powers of arrest, search, seizure, detention and questioning in violation of the Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Ninth
    Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment;
    c) It was the custom and policy of the City of to fail to properly
    hire, train, supervise or discipline its police officers;
    d) The City’s intentional conduct amounts to a deliberate indifference to the rights of plaintiffs and the citizens of the United States;
    e) Each individual assisted each other in performing the various actions
    described herein and lent to each other and to the City of , their physical
    presence, support and the authority of their office; and
    f ) A pattern and practice in violation of the constitutional rights alleged
    above was condoned, tolerated and the custom of the City, thus subjecting the
    municipality of the City of to liability under the doctrine of Monell v.
    Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978).

    24. Each Defendant’s conduct was the proximate cause of the injury and damage Plaintiff suffered.

    25. Plaintiff suffered damages in humiliation, reputation, loss and invasion of privacy, and property damage, and Plaintiff requests an amount of money damages for compensatory damages against all Defendants, jointly and severally, that is fair and reasonable, to be determined by the jury.

    26. Defendants’ conduct was outrageous because of Defendants’ evil motive or reckless indifference to the rights of others, so as to justify an award of punitive damages against all Defendants, jointly and severally, for an amount of One Million Dollars, to be determined by the jury.

  12. May be the innocent man just wanted to feed his eyes and have a good time wandering about the neighborhood, probably it was too hot inside the house and he wanted some fresh air in the open space. But where was the child that the man was supposed to be looking after at the time of the day the incident occurred? probably, if he had stayed inside the house he would not have been tackled by these two cops that needed more training before being deployed to the crime scene.
    But ironically I have learnt a biiiiig lesson from these cops, before traveling to any country no matter how great or big it is, I will learn how to say No English, or no language that is used in that country or just learn the basics that will enable me to navigate and find my way around any new environment. Is a very useful survival skill. clearly this two cops have not perfected their communication skill that is why they could not read the gentle man’s body language.

    Mistakes happens for lessons to be learnt. The bottom line is the man should be compensate

  13. What you really have here are two overfed cops showing off their cop chops for their even more overfed pal. They probably collect dash cam video like this to show at parties.

  14. Porkchop, Thank you sensei. That’s not sarcastic, great technical analysis. I have long though all cops should be trained in martial arts. But, not to abuse, to subdue. Particularly smaller female cops. I would think they would want to have that edge.

  15. I have a few observations on the “take down”. It appears to be a variation on judo techniques known as Kosoto Gari (Small Outside Reap) or Kosoto Gake (Small Outside Hook); other martial arts would refer to it as a footsweep.

    Executed as in judo or other martial arts, one sweeps both feet out from under the opponent and he simply falls to the ground. One actually continues to hold the opponent which prevents him from hitting the mat or floor particularly hard.

    But as executed in the video, the officer not only sweeps Mr. Patel’s feet out from under him — the officer actually leaves his feet and lands with his full body weight on top of Mr. Patel, so the force with which Mr. Patel hit the ground was the result of the weight of two bodies (say, perhaps, 350 pounds) falling, say, 3 feet, plus the force the officer added by his forceful shove. It wasn’t just a “take down” it was a tackle. In my opinion, that degree of force is not designed to control, but to disable. A young male in good physical condition would at least have the wind knocked out of him and possibly a concussion, depending on the order in which his body parts hit the ground. Applied to a slight 57-year-old man? I wouldn’t have been surprised to hear that he had died.

    I don’t think that it can reasonably be argued that “such a take down would not normally result in a serious injury.” In fact, the opposite to be the case — executed in that manner, it most likely would cause serious injury.

    1. Pork, I am not versed at all in the martial arts, but I did have some friends who were into competitive wrestling in college and high school. While not the same, they are similar, and I recall one friend was really upset at losing a match because he got his opponent in the air, and slammed him to the mat. The rule is that your knee or other body parts have to hit the mat before the one being lifted does. Dwight was absolutely certain his knee hit the mat first, but the ref disagreed. This is of course to prevent injury. So if young fit men have to take such care in those situations, it DAMNED well applies to older frail men!

      You have only proved that this cop needs to be convicted of a felony and do some time behind bars so that he cannot do this again to other innocent citizens. It will also serve to remind cops that they are SERVANTS not lord and masters.

  16. They moved a man after a spinal injury. From their point of view, I doubt they could see he plowed headfirst into the ground, and he couldn’t communicate what was wrong.


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