The Indian grandfather badly injured after Alabama police threw him to the ground is "improving faster than expected," but he still has limited movement, his attorney said Friday. Sureshbhai Patel, 57, remains in the hospital following the Feb. 6 confrontation on a quiet, residential street in Madison — an incident that was caught on police cruiser dash-cams. "I talked to his son, Chirag, only less than an hour ago and the reports from the doctors are very good — that he is improving faster than expected," the family's attorney, Hank Sherrod, said on MSNBC.
Patel is still unable to walk without assistance and has limited function in his left leg, Sherrod said. "But his grip strength is improving, his right leg is improving," he added. "He has a lot of work to do, but because he's so motivated, the doctors are optimistic about his recovery."
Watch the full interview on MSNBC
Patel, who lives in India, was visiting his son in Alabama and walking around the neighborhood when he encountered the officers. His attorney said he doesn't speak English, which led to the confusion when a neighbor called 911 to report a "skinny black guy" wandering the street. Sherrod said cops "harassed" him. He denied earlier police claims that Patel had his hands in his pocket. "That's not on the video," Sherrod added. "They accused him of causing this incident by pulling away from the officers."
After police say Patel tried to walk away, one of the officers forced him to the ground, resulting in injuries to his neck and later requiring cervical fusion surgery, his family said. Eric Parker, the Madison police officer seen forcing Patel down, was arrested on an assault charge Thursday and is expected to be fired, officials said. Sherrod said the Patel family is filing a civil rights lawsuit against Madison police.
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