An Indian man visiting his son in Madison, Alabama was left temporarily paralyzed after being stopped by police while walking in his son’s neighborhood, news site AL.com reported on Tuesday.
Sureshbhai Patel, 57, was reportedly questioned and thrown to the ground by police on Friday, according to the newspaper. Police said they were responding to a call about a “suspicious” man walking around the neighborhood looking in garages.
The family’s lawyer, Hank Sherrod, questioned the nature of the call, according to AL.com.
“This is broad daylight, walking down the street,” Sherrod told the website. “There is nothing suspicious about Mr. Patel other than he has brown skin.”
According to his son, Chirag Patel, the grandfather was in the United States to help his son and daugter-in-law care for their young son.
“He was just walking on the sidewalk as he does all the time,” Patel said. “They put him to the ground.”
Patel said his father was still in the hospital and had to have surgery to fuse two of his vertebrae. While his father can now move his right leg, according to Patel, his left is still paralyzed. He also told AL.com that his father can’t make a tight grip.
Sherrod said Patel attempted to communicate with police when questioned, despite not speaking English. He reportedly said “no English” and gave his son’s address repeatedly.
On Monday, Madison police released a statement to AL.com that said the officer involved had been suspended and was being investigated for his use of force. The statement also wished Patel a “speedy recovery.”