Viral video in 2017 showed a Colorado police officer slamming college student Michaella Surat to the ground. Now she’s suing that cop and his department. The incident caused a concussion, spinal strain, and bruising, according to a lawsuit filed in Colorado federal court.
Video showed Surat and her boyfriend at the Bondi Beach Bar. Cops with Fort Collins Police Services were called over because Surat’s boyfriend was in an alleged altercation. As seen on video, Surat and her boyfriend attempted to leave the scene, but cops stopped them. An officer said that the boyfriend couldn’t leave, but Surat should go. She refused. A confrontation ensued.
“I don’t want to throw you on the ground,” said the officer identified as Randall Klamser.
That’s what happened, though. A nearby crowd gasped.
“What the fuck are you doing?” said a man.
Surat was handcuffed and led to a patrol cruiser crying. She said she wasn’t resisting.
Shortly after the incident, cops said that Surat instigated the confrontation:
As officers were trying to gather information from employees, one of the involved suspects’ girlfriend, Michaella Surat, shoulder-checked the bouncer and an officer and then pulled her boyfriend from the area. The officers told her that her boyfriend was not free to leave but that she could go. She remained at the scene, at which time she physically obstructed and struck an officer.
She was convicted of obstructing a peace officer and resisting arrest, and was sentenced to probation last October. Her attorney David Lane moved to vacate the guilty verdict, arguing that prosecutors did not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, according to The Coloradoan.
The defense isn’t letting this case go. They also appealed the conviction, according to Westword. Klamser didn’t explain why he was arresting Surat when she demanded to know why, said the lawsuit. The plaintiff’s legal team argued that the cop overreacted: He was 6 feet fall and weighed 203, while Surat was only 115 pounds. He was in no position to believe that Surat was armed or any kind of threat.
The lawsuit also says that Surat was humiliated because her dress was hiked up from the takedown. An officer only partially fixed it, so she was “paraded” through the square exposed, she claims. As seen on video, a young female bystander helped pull down the dress.
Surat’s lawsuit says that that she sustained multiple injuries and long-term ramifications. For example, she had trouble chewing and opening her mouth for 5 to 6 months, and suffered from pain and numbness to her left hand, according to the complaint. She claims she left social media because of death threats and negative statements. The complaint blames the police department for not having better training, and said that their officers had a pattern of excessive force.
The police department declined to comment on the lawsuit when reached by Law&Crime.
[Screengrab via Fort Collins Police Services]