Indian man testifies about takedown by Alabama officer

AP News
|
Posted: Oct 28, 2015 6:26 PM

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — An Indian man hurt in a police encounter testified Wednesday he didn't understand instructions from an Alabama officer who was accused of violating his rights by throwing the grandfather down hard enough to cause a spinal injury.

Sureshbhai Patel (suh-RESH'-beye pah-TEL') took the stand in the retrial of Madison police officer Eric Parker, testifying through an interpreter that he doesn't speak English and didn't know what officers were telling him when they stopped him in a neighborhood in suburban Huntsville in February.

"No English, India," Patel, 58, said he told officers several times.

Jurors watched police video that shows an officer knocking Patel's legs out from under him and pushing him face-first to the ground. Patel said his arms and legs went numb after the impact, and he could not stand on his own.

The man, who used a walker to enter the courtroom, suffered a spinal injury, a doctor testified.

Parker's lawyer, Robert Tuten, claimed Patel repeatedly walked away from the officers during the encounter, but Patel denied doing so.

Patrol officer Charles Spence, who also responded to a dispatcher's call about a suspicious person in a neighborhood, said he never saw Patel as a threat and testified that Parker's use of force on the man was unnecessary.

But during cross-examination, Spence said he could not tell if Patel was pulling away from Parker, as the defense suggested.

Parker's first trial ended in a mistrial with a hung jury last month.

While Parker denies intentionally hurting Patel, Gov. Robert Bentley already has apologized to the government of India for what he called a case of excessive force by police.

Patel has filed a civil lawsuit against Parker, and the city of Madison is attempting to fire him. Parker also faces an assault charge in state court.