WASHINGTON — Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) on Feb. 13 released the following statements to condemn the use of excessive police force against Sureshbhai Patel, an Indian grandfather who was left partially paralyzed after an encounter with Alabama police.
• Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), CAPAC chair: “I was appalled to learn about the brutal attack on Sureshbhai Patel by a police officer in Madison, Ala. It is a positive development that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has stepped in to investigate this case. In no way should the color of someone’s skin or their limited English proficiency lead to the type of confusion and unreasonable use of force that left Mr. Patel partially paralyzed.
“As we await the FBI’s findings, I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to ensure that this type of profiling and excessive force is no longer permitted by law enforcement.”
• Rep. Mike Honda (D-Santa Clara), CAPAC chair emeritus: “I am pleased that the officer involved in the assault of an Indian grandfather visiting his family in Alabama has been charged with assault. My thoughts go out to the family and friends of Sureshbhai Patel, who is still recovering from injuries that have left him partially paralyzed. In the aftermath of so many events that have worn down the trust between communities of color and police officers, the Madison Police Department has taken the right step. I look forward to the findings of an FBI civil rights investigation into this incident.”
• Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Manhattan Beach): “A full investigation into this matter is what Mr. Patel, his family and the Madison, Ala. community deserve. Once all the facts are known about this unfortunate incident, it is vital that they serve as a roadmap to improve the way law enforcement interacts with individuals who possess limited English proficiency. I hope for Mr. Patel’s quick return to full health.”
• Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.): “I join the call to investigate the violence against Sureshbhai Patel. We must ensure that people of all backgrounds, including visitors and immigrants, are treated fairly under the law.”
• Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), a member of the CAPAC Executive Board, issued the following statement on Feb. 17: “Nobody in our society must ever be subjected to hate and violence. This past week alone, three young Muslim Americans were shot and killed in North Carolina, a Muslim father was attacked outside a grocery store in Michigan, and police say an Islamic family center in Texas burned down as the result of arson.
“In addition, the use of excessive force on an Indian grandfather targeted for simply walking down the street is very disturbing. I am thankful that police in Madison, Ala. responded quickly and appropriately.
“Whether or not these incidents are specifically directed towards the South Asian and Muslim community, one thing is crystal clear: There is no place for hate and violence. I will be watching the developments of all of these cases closely. All Americans have a responsibility to raise their voices and condemn bigotry when and wherever it occurs. Our fight against intolerance must continue until all hate crimes are a thing of the past.”