By Arun Kumar (IANS)
An Indian grandfather who was slammed down to the ground by an Alabama police officer while walking in his son's neighbourhood in February recalled the horrific encounter that left him badly injured.
Sureshbhai Patel, 57, was called to the stand as the trial of former police officer Eric Parker, 26, began in a Huntsville, Alabama federal court Wednesday.
Parker is accused of using excessive force against an unarmed Patel and charged with violating his civil rights.
Patel, according to local whnt.com, told the jury he went for a walk around the neighbourhood every morning, but stayed on the same street as his son's house and never went farther than ten or 11 houses away.
He walked on the footpath next to the road and did not go to anybody's house or into anyone's yard on his walk.
Patel said on the morning of the incident, he stopped when he heard shouting from behind him. He recognized the uniforms the men wore as police uniforms.
He said he stopped when they shouted, but he could not understand them.
He says he was only able to respond, "No English, no English."
Patel said when the officer put his hand on him, he did not attempt to jerk or pull away.
Shortly after that, the officer "put him on the grass." He said officers tried to lift him, but his hands and legs were numb.
As a result of his injuries, he now has trouble walking and cannot care for his grandson, he told the jury.
When the defence asked Patel why he did not carry identification or a card with his son's contact information on it, he replied that he was simply going for a short-distance morning walk and that there was no need for identification.
Earlier, officer Charles Spence who was called to respond after Parker arrested Sureshbhai Patel, said Parker used a standard takedown move, the "front leg sweep" taught in the police academy.
Spence said it's used when a subject is being combative, but he didn't observe Patel being combative.
He also said this type of takedown is "high risk" and he wouldn't have handcuffed him in this circumstance.
Prosecutors asked Spence if he saw anything that would have caused him to lay hands on Patel. "No sir, I didn't," Officer Spence replied.
Parker had responded on a report of a suspicious person. The jury heard a recording of the dispatcher's call to police about a "black male" looking into garages there.
Police dash cam video captured Parker slamming Patel to the ground, and jurors watched those videos in court.
Throughout questioning, even in opening statements, Parker's lawyer, Robert Tuten, argued his client was doing what was necessary to "control the situation," which is a duty of a police officer in an uncertain situation.