Madison (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?