Visiting from India, grandfather badly hurt in encounter; officer arrested

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Story highlights

  • Officer arrested, faces charge of third-degree assault
  • Sureshbhai Patel is visiting from India to help take care of his grandson
  • He required back surgery after police forced him to the ground

(CNN)It started out as a morning walk, but ended up with a 57-year-old grandpa laying partially paralyzed in an Alabama hospital bed.

Sureshbhai Patel, who is visiting from India, needed spinal fusion surgery to repair damage to his back after his family says a police officer in Madison twisted his arm and forced him to the ground.
Officer Eric Parker was arrested on Thursday, Madison police Chief Larry Muncey said. Parker faces a charge of misdemeanor third-degree assault. Parker turned himself in to sheriff's officials, the chief said.
    The department released two videos shot by cameras on the dashboards of police cars at the scene. The video shows an officer slamming the man to the ground.
    The incident began Friday when Madison police got a suspicious person report.
    Police say someone in the small community about 12 miles east of Huntsville called to report a man walking in neighbors' driveways and peering into garages.
    "The caller, who lives in the neighborhood did not recognize the subject and thought him to be suspicious," a statement from Madison police said.
    When police responded, there was a language barrier.
    Patel, who is helping take care of his developmentally delayed, 17-month-old grandson Ayaan, speaks little English.
    Indian man, 57, paralyzed after encounter with police
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    Chirag Patel, told CNN Affiliate WHNT that his father tried to communicate with officers, telling them "No English. Indian," when they approached. He also said his father gave police his address and pointed to his son's house.
    Madison police agree that there was "a communication barrier" between officers and the elder Patel.
    The police statement says Patel reached into his pocket while speaking with the officers.
    "Officers attempted to pat the subject down and he attempted to pull away," the statement reads.
    That's when officers forced Patel to the ground, leaving him with an injured neck and no feeling in his arms, the family says.
    Months of physical therapy are ahead for Patel, who can now move his hands, but can't grasp anything, WHNT reported. Chirag Patel said his father can move his right leg but not his left
    The family filed a civil lawsuit against the police department, CNN affiliates reported.