A woman is suing a police officer for arresting her in a “violent takedown,” exposing her butt to a crowd of nightclubbers — and a reported one million people who saw it online.
Michaella Surat, 24, recently filed a complaint against the city of Fort Collins, Colorado, and police officer Randall Klamser for the 2017 arrest that left her concussed and with her backside exposed to rolling cameras outside the Bondi Beach Bar.
Attorney David Lane tells Yahoo Lifestyle that Surat is psychologically scarred from her arrest. “The officer used excessive force,” he says. “Michaella’s injuries are the very least of it.”
On April 6, 2017, Surat, then a junior at Colorado State University and a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority, was celebrating her 22nd birthday with her boyfriend, who was kicked out of the bar for fighting another man, according to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Colorado and obtained by Yahoo Lifestyle. Officers Klamser and Garrett Pastor responded to the call.
While Klamser spoke to the bouncer, reads the complaint, Surat grabbed her boyfriend’s arm and tried to walk away. Klamser said she was free to leave, but her boyfriend was not. Surat then watched from the sidelines, but Klamser allegedly told her to “back off” and pushed her shoulder.
However, in 2017, a police spokesperson told NBC News that Surat “shoulder-checked” an officer and the bouncer, then “physically obstructed and struck” the officer. (Yahoo Lifestyle could not reach a spokesperson from Bondi Beach Bar for comment).
The lawsuit says Klamser placed Surat in a rear wrist lock hold, dropping her to the ground. Surat’s chin slammed onto the sidewalk, causing neck pain, a concussion and black-and-purple bruises on her body. Surat told the officer, “You don’t need to f***ing touch me” and kept asking what she did wrong.
Footage from the New York Post shows Surat refusing to follow the officer’s orders. “Ma’am, I don’t want to throw you on the ground. Please don’t do that,” he says. After she’s thrown on the ground, Surat sobs, “I’m not resisting.”
While down, Surat’s short black minidress was inadvertently pulled above her hips, revealing her underwear and behind: “Defendant Klasmer was aware that Ms. Surat’s lower buttocks were exposed, as they were uncovered and entirely visible in his body cam footage…one of the officers partially attempted to fix her dress, but it was not pulled down enough and she was paraded through Old Town Square with part of her lower buttocks still exposed.”
Surat was charged with third-degree assault and obstructing a police officer. According to The Coloradoan, on August 24th, 2018, after three trials, Surat was found guilty and sentenced to one year of probation, community service, and a behavioral course.
A spokesperson from the Fort Collins Police Department tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the official report would not be released in time for publication. And a city representative tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “It is the City’s policy not to comment on pending litigation.”
Surat told Good Morning America in 2017, “All my bones were shattering in my face and I was just so humiliated because everyone was watching me.”
John Hutto, the former Fort Collins police chief told Denver news station KDVR that year, “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,” promising an investigation into Klamser’s conduct.
Sgt. Matt Johnson also told KDVR that Klamser executed a “standard arrest control” over Surat.
Lane says Klamser’s actions are “grossly excessive” and violate Surat’s Fourth Amendment rights (protecting her from unreasonable seizure). Surat allegedly received so many death threats that she quit social media and wouldn’t leave her home. “To this day,” says the complaint, “people on the street still recognize her from the video, which went viral.”
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