Alabama governor sorry for police incident, officer pleads not guilty

Police dashcam shows takedown of Indian grandfather
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Police dashcam shows takedown of Indian grandfather 01:47

Story highlights

  • Eric Parker was released last week after posting $1,000 bail
  • He is accused of assaulting Sureshbhai Patel while on duty and answering a suspicious person report
  • Patel was taken to the ground and needed spinal surgery

(CNN)Alabama's governor apologized for what he called an "unfortunate use of excessive force" by a police officer against an Indian man, even as the officer in question pleaded not guilty to assault.

Gov. Robert Bentley wrote a letter to the consul general of India in Atlanta, Ajit Kumar, offering an apology to the government of India for the "tragic incident."
Bentley was referring to an encounter where a Madison County, Alabama, police officer forced a 59-year-old man to the ground, causing partial paralysis.
    "I wish to assure you and the government of India that we will see that justice is done," Bentley wrote.
    On Tuesday, the officer, Eric Parker, entered a plea of not guilty in court.
    Parker, 26, has been charged with third-degree assault, a Class A misdemeanor. He waived arraignment, according to Limestone County court documents.
    CNN reached out to Parker's attorney, Robert Tuten, for comment, but didn't get an immediate response. Parker posted bail of $1,000 last week and was released from jail.
    Sureshbhai Patel needed spinal fusion surgery to repair damage to his back after Parker forced him to the ground. Video from the dash cameras of two police cars recorded the encounter, which took place the morning of February 6.
    Patel was walking through a neighborhood in Madison when Parker and another officer answered a call about a suspicious man.
    When police responded, there was a language barrier. Patel, who is helping take care of his developmentally delayed 17-month-old grandson, speaks little English.
    A police statement said Patel was taken to the ground after officers attempted to pat the subject down and he attempted to pull away.
    An attorney for the Patel family said Tuesday the grandfather was transferred to a rehabilitation facility on Monday.
    "He has a long, difficult and uncertain rehabilitation process ahead of him," Hank Sherrod wrote in an email to CNN.
    A trial by judge is scheduled for April 29.