Alabama’s governor has apologized to the government of India for the actions of a Madison police officer who seriously injured an Indian grandfather during a police stop in that town on Feb. 6.
Gov. Robert Bentley also ordered the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to launch a parallel investigation — the Federal Bureau of Investigation has already started its own probe — into the "excessive force" that left Sureshbhai Patel, 57, partially paralyzed.
"I deeply regret the unfortunate use of excessive force by the Madison Police Department on Sureshbhai Patel and for the injuries sustained by Mr. Patel. I sincerely hope that Mr. Patel continues to improve and that he will regain full use of his legs," Bentley said in a letter Tuesday to India’s general consul in Atlanta, Ajit Kumar.
"Finally, and most important, please accept our sincere apology for this tragic incident to your government, Mr. Patel, and the citizens of India who reside and work in our state," the letter went on.
Police say Officer Eric Parker slammed Patel to the ground after stopping him when a caller complained of a "skinny black guy" walking around the neighborhood.
Parker is charged with third-degree assault and entered a plea of not guilty in court Tuesday, NBC station WAFF reported. Madison’s police chief has recommended that Parker be fired.
Patel, who speaks no English but was questioned by police and given orders in English regardless, was in the country to visit his son and daughter-in-law and to help care for their 17-month old child.
— Phil Helsel