Earlier this month, Sureshbhai Patel traveled from his farm in India to Madison, Alabama to help care for his newly-born grandson.
As on most mornings since his arrival, the 57-year old grandfather would leave his son’t house in the morning to stroll down Hardiman Place Lane for some daily exercise. He had been taking this same walk every day for nearly a week without ussue until one morning a concerned neighbor notified the police about a suspicious “skinny black man”.
Police responded to that call and when they arrived, they approached Patel, questioned and handcuffed him. At every question, a confused Patel could only point in the direction of his son’s home and utter a couple words. He didn’t understand the officer’s questions because he didn’t speak English BECAUSE he’s a tourist/Indian citizen.
So Sureshbhai kept responding with broken attempts: “No English – Indian” while pointing down the street at his son’s home and trying to go in that direction.
Eric Parker, the police officer that’s 30 years his junior, “interprets” Patel’s movements as the frail grandfathers attempts at fleeing. Out of nowhere Parker sticks his leg under the handcuffed Patel’s legs and slams the 57-year old into the the ground face first. The video from the police dashboard camera captures Parker’s disgusting actions:
Unbelievable. What a fucking asshole.
The fall causes significant trauma to Sureshbhai’s spine, partially paralyzing his legs and bloodies his face. Sureshbhai is still in the hospital.
There are so many layers to this incident, but I can’t help but think about my grandmother who likes to take daily walks and doesn’t speak any English. Given my grandmother isn’t a brown male in Alabama and that’s the key ingredients to this undecipherable mish mash of racism, ignorance, disrespect, and abuse of power.