A nine-second video that went viral over the weekend shows a Fort Collins, Colo., police officer tossing a 22-year-old woman to the ground like a rag doll.
According to The Coloradoan, police say the arrest technique was “relatively standard,” and that the woman had already assaulted the officer.
The report indicates that officers were dispatched Thursday to reports of a “separated disturbance” between two men near Bondi Beach Bar in Old Town Fort Collins. As officers were getting information from employees about the reported fight, the girlfriend of one of the suspects “shoulder-checked the bouncer and an officer and then pulled her boyfriend from the area,” said Kate Kimble, a Fort Collins police spokesperson.
“The officers told her that her boyfriend was not free to leave but that she could go,” Kimble said. “She remained at the scene, at which time, she physically obstructed and struck an officer.”
That’s when the officer ... ah ... used a “standard arrest control” to subdue the woman, who has been identified as Michaella Surat, according to police.
In a brief video captured by a bystander, the officer is seen dragging Surat, apparently face-first, to the ground with an audible smack.
“The officers told her that her boyfriend was not free to leave but that she could go,” Sgt. Dean Cunningham, another Fort Collins police spokesperson, told the Washington Post. “She remained at the scene, at which time she physically obstructed and struck an officer.”
Cunningham said that Surat was “taken to the ground” so that officers could arrest her. She was booked at the Larimer County Jail and charged with third-degree assault and obstructing a police officer, but bonded out of jail. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday.
Needless to say, the use of force—“standard” or not—has raised questions. Fort Collins Police Chief John Hutto said in a statement that the incident would be “throughly investigated,” noting that the incident was captured on body cameras as well, The Coloradoan noted in another report.
“The court process will take place and there will be an internal review of the officer’s actions from the perspective of policy and procedure. At the conclusion of these investigative processes, the body-worn-camera video will be made available to the public,” Hutto added.
However, the chief cautioned the public not to jump to conclusions, especially based on a nine-second video.
“As with most events of this type, the short, publicly available video does not have the context or content of the full event. Additionally, rarely in use-of-force situations is there agreement from all the parties involved as to the appropriateness, efficacy or necessity of its use. These questions are only answered through the analysis of all the evidence after the fact,” Hutto said.
It will be interesting to see what the final response to the video is, as well as the overall general public reaction, since, as you know, excessive use of police force seems to be something that’s a figment of black folks’ imagination. But “all the details are not out yet,” so, who knows?
Surat’s family told ABC News that the college junior was left with bruises and a chin contusion from the takedown.
“We find the response attributed to law enforcement that this is standard procedure, if true, disturbing at best,” the family’s attorney said in a statement.
The officer involved in the incident has not been identified.