Sureshbhai Patel, 57, flew from India to the suburbs of Madison, Alabama about two weeks ago to visit his son, Chirag, and his son’s wife and 17-month-old son. Sureshbhai planned to stay and help his daughter-in-law care for his grandson while Chirag was pursuing a master’s degree at University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Last Friday, Sureshbhai went for a walk around his son’s neighborhood, and never came home. Reports indicate that a neighbor called the police to report a suspicious person walking through the neighborhood. Police arrived and confronted Sureshbhai, quickly escalating the situation after what they said may have been a “communication barrier” (Sureshbhai speaks Hindi).
AL.com coverage states:
“He was just walking on the sidewalk as he does all the time,” said his son, Chirag Patel, this morning. “They put him to the ground.”
No crime had been committed. Madison Police on Monday issued a statement saying the department had suspended the officer and were investigating the use of force in this case. The police statement wished the man a “speedy recovery.”
Sureshbhai Patel is still hospitalized with serious injuries and temporary paralysis.
This story only highlights the great need for language access, cultural communication, and extensive use of force training among U.S. police agencies.