A new videotape has raised questions of excessive force in Colorado. The video shows Michaella Surat, 22, was thrown to the ground with such violence that it could easily have caused serious head and face injury. The sorority girl was arrested after she allegedly struck an officer who has responded to a fight involving Surat’s boyfriend. Surat is a junior at Colorado State University. The smiling mugshot below does not show any obvious injury to Surat, but the video (also below) is quite chilling.
The incident occurred near Bondi Beach Bar in Old Town Fort Collins. Surat tried to leave with her boyfriend but police said that he was not ready to go (but that she was). She then allegedly “shoulder checked” a bouncer and police officer, which was declared to be a battery. The description of the “check” does not sound particularly serious but it turned quite serious in the following moments. Surat faces charges of third-degree assault and obstructing a peace officer.
Kate Kimble, Fort Collins police spokeswoman, said that the take down was a “standard arrest control” to subdue Surat. It is hard to see from the video why such a violent move was needed in dealing with the woman who did not appear to present any serious threat to the officers.
This is not the first such controversy in Colorado. In 2015, this eerily similar scene was captured on a security camera:
The concern in such films is that a take down can be used to cause serious injury while justifying the act as a standard arrest move. Particularly when the suspect is not a serious physical threat, legitimate questions are raised about both the means and the motivation behind the level of force used in the arrest.
What do you think?