MADISON, Ala. (WAFF) - In 2015, Sureshbai Patel was visiting his son, daughter-in-law and disabled grandson when he was injured by a former Madison police officer. Today, Patel’s lawyer announced the case is formally dismissed.
Hank Sherrod is Patel’s lawyer, and on April 8, Sherrod confirmed the insurance company for the City of Madison paid Patel $1.75M to settle Patel’s federal lawsuit stemming from the 2015 assault of Patel by former Madison police officer Eric Parker.
Patel is a citizen of India and was visiting family in Madison during February of 2015. Records show Patel was walking in his son’s neighborhood when he was contacted by two Madison police officers, a new officer going through field training and his training officer, Eric Parker.
Officers were responding to a report from a neighbor about who saw “Patel as a skinny black male who did not belong in the neighborhood.”
A release from Sherrod states when officers saw Patel, the trainee initiated the confrontation, when Parker intervened, put Patel’s hands behind his back, patted Patel down, and then took Patel to the ground headfirst using a leg sweep.
As a result, Patel suffered a serious spinal cord injury. Patel had to have surgery, go through rehabilitation and now requires a walker.
Video of the assault was made public and sparked national and international media attention.
Parker was charged with violating federal criminal civil rights laws. After two hung juries, the federal judge over the criminal trial acquitted Parker in 2016.
Parker was recommended for termination by the City of Madison police chief and placed on paid leave shortly after the incident, following dismissal of the criminal charges, the City reinstated Parker. Parker currently works for another police department in Alabama.
Patel’s civil lawsuit was vigorously defended by the City of Madison and Parker
“Not holding Parker accountable for his excessive use of force and allowing him to continue as a police officer is a fundamental failure of accountability, by both the City of Madison and our criminal justice system,” said Sherrod. “While we are glad Patel has received compensation for his injuries, no one, and especially not government actors, should be above accountability. Mr. Patel is glad to put this behind him. He appreciates all the support he has received from people all over the world. Mr. Patel credits his Hindu faith for giving him strength and peace throughout this ordeal.”