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Alabama governor apologises for police assault on elderly Indian man

Governor Robert Bentley of the US state of Alabama has apologised to the Indian government for injuries sustained by an Indian grandfather who was roughed up by police while visiting his family in Madison.

world Updated: Feb 19, 2015 00:50 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
Governor Robert Bentley,US state of Alabama,Madison

Alabama governor Robert Bentley has apologised to India for the rough handling of Sureshbhai Patel by two police officers that left the 57-year-old grandfather partially paralysed.

“I deeply regret the unfortunate use of excessive force by the Madison police department and for the injuries sustained by (Patel),” said Bentley in a letter to the Indian government.

He added that his administration will make sure justice is done, having launched its own investigation that will run parallel to the one being conducted by the FBI.

In the letter, the governor also apologised to Patel and Indians residing and working in Alabama.

Click here to read governor’s letter

Patel, who was visiting his son, was stopped by two cops during his morning walk on February 6. The police had been called by a neighbour who had complained in a 911 call of a “skinny, black male” walking about in a suspicious manner.

After a brief conversation, one of the police officers slammed Patel to the ground.

Patel was left partially paralysed by the encounter. His lawyer Hank Sherrod said Patel is better now — having got back the use of his arms and one of his legs.

Sherrod has filed a lawsuit on Patel’s behalf against Madison police department and officer Eric Parker, who threw Patel to the ground.

Cop pleads not guilty

Parker, meanwhile, has pleaded not guilty to charges of third degree assault, which, in Alabama, is punishable with one year in jail, a fine, probation, or community service. The incident was seen by the Indian-American community and India as racially motivated, a charge the FBI is probing.

First Published: Feb 18, 2015 11:50 IST