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US Cop Charged in Beating of Indian Man

  • VOA News

FILE - Sureshbhai Patel is shown in a February 7, 2015, photo in a bed at Huntsville Hospital in Huntsville, Alabama.

FILE - Sureshbhai Patel is shown in a February 7, 2015, photo in a bed at Huntsville Hospital in Huntsville, Alabama.

A police officer in the U.S. state of Alabama who was fired after slamming an elderly man from India to the ground now faces a federal charge, the Justice Department announced Friday.

A federal grand jury indicted Eric Sloan Parker, 26, on one count of "using unreasonable force" against Sureshbhai Patel.

The Associated Press news agency cites Parker's defense attorney as saying the former officer will plead not guilty.

Video recorded by a police car dashboard camera shows Parker and another officer approaching the 57-year-old Patel as he walked in his son's neighborhood in the town of Madison on February 6.

Patel said "no English" when the police confronted him asking for identification and appeared to try to walk away. The video showed Parker pulling Patel's arms behind his back and slamming him face first into the grass.

The federal charge adds to a state assault charge brought against Parker in February.

Patel, who had only recently traveled to the United States to visit his son and help care for his grandson, also filed a civil lawsuit, accusing the officers of racism. The complaint said Patel needed spinal surgery following the exchange.

Shortly before the confrontation, police had received a phone call that a "suspicious person" was wandering around the neighborhood.

Police say Parker got physical with Patel when he didn't respond to commands.

The federal indictment says Parker's actions deprived Patel "of his right under the U.S. Constitution to be secure from unreasonable seizures," according to Friday's Justice Department statement.

The FBI investigated the case.

Some information for this report comes from AP.

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