Cops in Madison, Alabama, roughed up a 57-year-old Indian man last week and sent him to the hospital with fused vertebrae even though he was simply walking on the sidewalk.
Sureshbhai Patel had arrived in the U.S. just a few weeks ago to spend time with his son Chirag Patel's family and help him and his wife take care of their infant baby. As was his routine, he went out for his morning walk last Friday in the affluent neighborhood of Hardiman Place Lane, where his son had recently purchased a house.
While he was walking and minding his own business, a neighbor of Patel's – perhaps startled by the old man's ethnicity – called the cops with the complaint that a suspicious looking man was looking in garages.
Cops arrived and asked Patel a few questions, which he couldn't answer due to a language barrier – he can't speak English. Instead, he kept on repeating the contact number of his son Chirag. According to the police's version, "The subject began putting his hands in his pockets. Officers attempted to pat the subject down and he attempted to pull away. The subject was forced to the ground, which resulted in injury."
As he struggled to explain that he was simply walking, the police officers on duty frisked him and forced him to the ground violently, which resulted the injury. The swelling on his spine had left him partially paralyzed and unable to move his legs and arms. He was sent in for surgery, and although he has since regained motion in his arms, it will be a long way to full recovery.
"This is broad daylight, walking down the street. There is nothing suspicious about Mr. Patel other than he has brown skin," said Hank Sherrod, attorney for the Patel family.
He further clarified that his client wasn't looking into any homes and his only crime was walking on the sidewalk and having brown skin.
The officer responsible for the needless act of violence against a frail, harmless senior citizen has been suspended, although the Patel family will likely seek damages too.