People Are Really Upset About This Video of a Police Officer Body-Slamming a College Student

A video showing a police officer throwing a female college student to the ground while arresting her has gone viral since the incident took place on April 6. Teen Vogue says the video has sparked a significant amount of debate over whether or not the officer used an appropriate amount of force for the situation at hand.

Fort Collins police officers were called to a nightclub that night to respond to a disturbance. When officers moved to detain a man involved in the incident, his girlfriend—who has been identified as Michaella Surat—allegedly attempted to intervene by “shoulder-checking” a bouncer and a police officer before “trying to pull her boyfriend away.” Fort Collins police Chief John Hutto states Surat was told “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.” A police spokesperson maintains that the method used to arrest her is standard procedure. Surat is facing charges of third degree assault and obstructing an officer. She was freed on a $1,750 bond, and her court case begins this Wednesday.

The viral video shows the arresting officer holding Surat by the forearms before throwing her sharply forward, face first onto the sidewalk. As the video quickly gained traction on social media, many called the action “excessive” and unnecessary.

 

The Fort Collins police put out a Facebook statement and a press release in response to the growing outcry as a result of the video. The statement on Facebook says the video doesn’t show the situation fully, and that "rarely in use of force situations is there agreement from all the parties involved as to the appropriateness, efficacy, or necessity of its use.”

More details may come to light after Surat stands trial and the videos from the responding officers’ body cams are no longer considered evidence.