An Alabama police officer has been charged with assault after a 57-year-old Indian man was thrown to the ground, an incident he says left him partially paralyzed.
Footage from police cameras shows a confrontation between Sureshbhai Patel and two officers in Alabama suburb of Madison.
Sureshbhai Patel speaks no English and tries to walk away from the officers, who eventually shove him to the ground.
He has filed a legal case accusing the officers of racism, and the FBI is also investigating.
Police officials in Madison, Alabama, apologized to Sureshbhai Patel and his family at a news conference on February 12.
They said one of the officers involved in February 6 incident had been arrested, and officials had recommended that he be fired.
The officer involved “did not meet the high standards and expectations of the Madison Police Department”, said Madison Police Chief Larry Muncey.
Sureshbhai Patel had only recently arrived in the US to help care for his grandson, who was born prematurely.
He was walking outside his son’s home on Friday morning when police said they received a call from a neighbor about a suspicious person.
According to the civil rights complaint filed in court on February 12, Sureshbhai Patel told the police officers who stopped him “no English, Indian”, and gave his son’s house number.
A police officer then threw him abruptly to the ground, injuring him seriously, the complaint said.
Sureshbhai Patel’s son, Chirag Patel, told the local media in Alabama that his father had to undergo surgery to fuse two vertebrae in his spine and that he was still unable to move his left leg.
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New tornadoes struck the southern US for a second night, raising the death toll above 20.
Six deaths were reported in Alabama and seven in Mississippi after tornadoes struck on Monday evening, although not all these fatalities were confirmed.
Several tornadoes flattened buildings, overturned vehicles and brought down utility lines on a second consecutive night of devastation.
At least 16 people died in Arkansas, Iowa and Oklahoma on Sunday night.
In Limestone county, Alabama, two deaths were confirmed by the coroner’s office and four deaths were reported, although unconfirmed, elsewhere in the county.
In Mississippi, a woman died when driving her car during the storm in Verona, south of Tupelo. Officials said seven people were killed in total across the state but coroners had yet to confirm that number.
The mayor of Tupelo, Jason Shelton, told CNN the damage from the storms was widespread and “devastating”. A 21:00 local time curfew was in place on Monday.
Many homes and businesses, including a new secondary school worth $14 million, were left in ruins in Vilonia after the storm (photo AP)
Power went out in much of the city as lines went down and trees were torn up by the storm, the US National Weather Service reported.
Giles Ward huddled in a bathroom with his wife and four other relatives as a tornado destroyed his brick house and overturned his son-in-law’s four-wheel-drive parked outside his home in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi.
Meanwhile, emergency crews are continuing to search through rubble for survivors of the severe storms which struck one day earlier.
Of the 16 people who died on Sunday night, 14 of them were in the suburbs of Little Rock, Arkansas. A preliminary death toll there was 16 but it was later amended.
But the number may yet rise as crews search the wreckage of destroyed buildings.
“We’re trying to make sure everyone is accounted for,” Brandon Morris, spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, told the Associated Press news agency.
Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe said the storm “may be one of the strongest we have seen”.
President Barack Obama, on a trip to the Philippines, offered his deepest condolences to those affected on Sunday and said federal emergency officials would be on the ground to help.
“Your country will be there to help you recover and rebuild, as long as it takes,” he said.
Mayflower and Vilonia, two small towns in Faulkner County, appear to have borne the brunt of the damage on Sunday.
The Arkansas tornado touched down about 10 miles west of the city of Little Rock and left a 40-mile path of destruction.
It is said to have passed through several northern suburbs – including Mayflower where a witness described a twister half a mile wide crossing Interstate 40 on Sunday evening, the National Weather Service said.
Congressman Tim Griffin told Reuters news agency an “entire neighborhood of 50 homes or so” in Faulkner County had been destroyed, with many “completely gone except the foundation”.
Many homes and businesses, including a new secondary school worth $14 million, were left in ruins in Vilonia after the storm.
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