9:36 am - Thursday November 5, 2015

Not a racial attack: Alabama Governor apologises for assault on Indian grandfather

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Washington: The Governor of the US state of Alabama has apologised for the “unfortunate” use of excessive force by police against an Indian grandfather early this month that left him partially paralysed.
Governor 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 use of “excessive force” against Sureshbhai Patel, 57 on February 6.”Please accept our sincere apology for this tragic incident to your government, Patel, and the citizens of India who reside and work in our state,” Bentley said in a letter written to the to India’s general consul in Atlanta, Ajit Kumar.
“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,” he said.
“I sincerely hope that Mr Patel continues to improve and that he will regain full use of his legs,” he said in the latter written yesterday.
Meanwhile, Patel has been transferred from Huntsville hospital to a rehabilitation centre following improvement in his condition, his attorney said.
Patel, who was partly paralysed after an unprovoked assault by local police in the Madison city of Alabama is still unable to walk, attorney Henry F Sherrod told PTI over phone.
Sherrod who has sued the Madison City and two police officers on behalf of Patel for unprovoked assault said this is not a racial attack.
“No I would definitely not use that phrase. That is inflammatory and unhelpful in discussing this case,” he said when asked if he considers police assault on Patel as a racial attack.
“This case is about police abuse of power and police accountability,” said Sherrod.
Responding to questions, Sherrod said the case of Patel is strong and on right track.
An online fund raising campaign has collected $1,87,000 for Patel’s medical expenses. More than 4,300 people have contributed to it.

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