Washington : Eleven days after a police officer in Alabama thrust a visiting Indian grandfather to the ground leaving him partially paralyzed, the state governor has issued an apology, even as the officer pleaded not guilty.

In a letter to India’s consul general in Atlanta, Republican Governor Robert Bentley offered an apology to the Indian government for the ‘tragic incident’ on February 6 when 57-year-old Sureshbhai Patel, visiting his son in Madison, was attacked, reports IANS.

“Please accept our sincere apology for this tragic incident to your government, Patel and the citizens of India who live and work in this state,” he wrote. The letter was released by Bentley’s office on Tuesday.

“I deeply regret the unfortunate use of excessive force by the Madison Police Department on Sureshbhai Patel and for the injuries sustained by Patel,” Bentley said in his letter.

“I sincerely hope that Patel continues to improve and that he will regain full use of his legs.”

Bentley said that he has instructed the director of the state’s Law Enforcement Agency to conduct an investigation into the incident and gave the assurance that “we will see that justice is done”.

Bentley’s apology came after India’s consul general in Atlanta on Monday conveyed India’s ‘deep concern’ over the issue of force being used on the senior Indian national who had come to Madison to help his son and daughter-in-law take care of their 17-month-old child.

Meanwhile, Parker, 26, who has been charged with third-degree assault, entered a plea of not guilty in court on Tuesday, according to CNN. A trial by judge is scheduled for April 29.

Arun Kumar

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