An Indian grandfather slammed to the ground by an Alabama police officer last February told him “no English” five times and said “India” three times, according to US prosecutors.
Sureshbhai Patel, who had arrived days earlier from India to take care of his grandson, also pointed to his son’s home and kept trying to walk officers toward the home, Assistant US Attorney Robert Posey told a Madison jury on Tuesday.
Patel, who does not speak English, made no sudden movements, he said in the prosecution’s opening statement at the retrial of former Madison Officer Eric Parker charged with deprivation of rights under colour of law, according to local Al.com.
Parker’s first trial ended early last month with a hung jury, as the jury split 10-2 in favour of acquittal.
“Then Parker starts threatening Mr Patel,” said Posey, introducing a new line of argument. Posey told the jury how Parker ordered Patel to stop jerking around although Patel appears to be standing still.
“Mr Parker kicks Mr Patel’s leg out from under him and at the same time pushes his head and shoulders full force into the frozen ground,” said Posey.
Posey argued that “an old, skinny grandfather” was left paralysed on the ground one minute and 41 seconds after encountering police, that there were other options, including handcuffing Patel.
Defence attorney Robert Tuten, on the other hand, told the jury that the escalation of force was largely the fault of Patel.
“When you come to the US we expect you to follow our laws and speak our language,” said Tuten. “Mr Patel bears as much responsibility for this as anyone.”
Patel speaks Gujarati and has testified he does not understand English. But Tuten said Patel understands the word “stop,” yet he walked two steps, then seven steps and then nine more steps as police attempted to question him.