By Albert Lin
The police officer who partially paralyzed a 57-year-old Indian grandfather has been arrested on third-degree assault charges.
Eric Parker of the Madison (Alabama) Police Department surrendered to the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday. Madison Police Chief Larry Muncey said at a small news conference that he is recommending Parker’s firing for his attack on Sureshbhai Patel.
“I found that Officer Eric Parker’s actions did not meet the high standards and expectations of the Madison City Police Department,” Muncey said. “I sincerely apologize to Mr. Patel, Mr. Patel’s family and our community. We strive to exceed expectations.”
The FBI will also conduct a parallel investigation to see if federal charges are warranted.
The Madison PD released dash-cam footage from two cruisersParker’s and a second one that arrived on the sceneand tape of the non-emergency call that brought police to the scene.
In the call, a man says, “We’ve had a guy, he was doing it yesterday and today, just kind of wandering around in driveways. He’s just kind of walking around close to the garage.”
Asked for a description of the person, the caller saying, “He’s a skinny Black guy, he’s got a toboggan [knit cap] on, he’s really skinny.”
The dash-cam footage shows the brutality of the takedown, with Patel’s feet leaving the sidewalk as he goes parallel to the ground in a move reminiscent of pro wrestling.
The accompanying audio shows that Parker and his trainee, Andrew Slaughter, kept asking Patel questions without getting any answers, since Patel does not speak English. Perhaps feeling as if he had adequately addressed the situation, Patel continued his walk. The officers caught up and one patted him down, saying, “Do not jerk away from me again. If you do I’m going to put you on this ground. Do not jerk away from me one more time. Do you understand Do you understand what I’m saying Do not jerk away from me again.”
As the second patrol car arrived, the other officer interjected, “Sit tight, relax. Relax” and then suddenly Patel is thrown to the ground.
Patel’s attorney, Hank Sherrod, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Thursday morning against the City of Madison and the two individual officers, who were identified as John Doe and Jim Smith since they had not been named at the time, claiming illegal search and seizure and excessive use of force.