Alabama policeman arrested on charges of assaulting Indian visitor

Sureshbhai Patel is seen at Huntsville Hospital, in Huntsville, Alabama in this undated family handout photo. A police officer has been arrested and charged with assault in Alabama after an encounter in which an Indian man visiting relatives was
Sureshbhai Patel is seen at Huntsville Hospital, in Huntsville, Alabama in this undated family handout photo. A police officer has been arrested and charged with assault in Alabama after an encounter in which an Indian man visiting relatives was slammed to the ground and seriously injured. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A police officer has been arrested and charged with assault in Alabama after an encounter in which an Indian man visiting relatives was slammed to the ground and seriously injured.

The incident, which occurred on Feb 6 in Madison, Alabama, was captured on the police car's dashcam video and widely seen on the Internet.

Madison police chief Larry Muncey said in a statement Thursday that the officer, Eric Parker, has been arrested and charged with assault in the third degree.

In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting a parallel inquiry to ascertain if there were any violations of federal law.

Muncey said he had recommended that Parker be fired and he apologised to the victim, Sureshbhai Patel, a 57-year-old grandfather who had travelled from India to visit his son.

Patel had gone out for a morning stroll. A short time later, police received a 911 call that a "suspicious person" was wandering around the neighbourhood.

Parker, a field training officer, and a trainee exited the police car and approached Patel, who speaks no English.

The video footage shows Parker throwing Patel to the ground.

A police department statement released earlier this week explained that "officers attempted to pat the subject down and he attempted to pull away.

"The subject was forced to the ground, which resulted in injury... The Madison Police Department wishes a speedy and full recovery to Mr Patel," the statement said.

Patel's son, Chirag, later told CNN that his father had tried to communicate with the officers, telling them "No English. Indian," but nevertheless was accosted.

Media reports said Patel, who needed back surgery following his injuries, has filed a lawsuit in US federal court, alleging that he was rendered partially paralysed after the inicident.