Attorney calls for independent investigation into Fort Collins arrest caught on camera

Posted at 8:24 AM, Apr 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-11 00:10:59-04

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- An attorney representing the woman who was seen on video being body-slammed by a Fort Collins Police officer is calling for an independent investigation into the incident.

The unnamed attorney spoke to ABC News Monday after the Snapchat video surfaced. The video shows a Fort Collins Police officer slamming Michaella Surat, 22, to the ground outside the Bondi Beach Bar Thursday evening. 

Police say Surat was subdued after she physically obstructed and struck an officer. Police had said the procedure was a "standard arrest control."

The attorney said in a statement released Monday that an independent investigation would be appropriate and described Surat’s treatment as “disturbing.”

The following is the attorney’s full statement:

We are currently investigating the facts of this case. I don't believe that the circumstances of the evening of 4/6 dictated this extreme degree of force from the officer and hope that any additional evidence that may exist will be turned over to us quickly. We find the response attributed to law enforcement that this is standard procedure , if true, DISTURBING at best. We hope that additional witnesses come forward and contact my office.  We appreciate the overwhelming community outreach and support for Michaella and agree that an independent investigation into this matter would be appropriate. Please respect the family's privacy while this matter unfolds.

The chief of the Fort Collins police is pledging to conduct a fair investigation. In a statement Sunday evening, Chief John Hutto says the department will review the officer's actions. But Hutto says he will not release the video from officers' body cameras.

Surat was arrested and booked into the Larimer County Jail on charges of third-degree assault and obstructing a peace officer.

WARNING: The video may not be suitable for all audiences.


Seems excessive @barstoolcsu

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Criminal Justice and Criminology Professor Dr. Andrea Borrego said detailed use of force policies are directly related to fewer complains and incidents.

"We don’t have the body cam footage or what happened beforehand but still, it doesn’t seem like that was a necessary use of force for that situation," Borrego said.

The Ft. Collins Police Department defines different types of "use of force" in its police policy manual. The policy also states when those incidents should be reported:

(a) The application would lead a reasonable officer to conclude the individual may have experienced more than momentary discomfort.
(b) The individual subjected to the force expressed a complaint of pain or injury.
(c) Any application of a control device as described in Policy 308 - Control Devices and Techniques.
(d) The individual subjected to the force was rendered unconscious.
(e) An individual was struck or kicked in any manner.
(f) The application caused a visible injury, serious bodily injury or death.
(g) An individual alleges any of the above has occurred.

The Associated Press contributed to this story


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