Colorado college student thrown to ground by police says she was 'humiliated,' calls for police change

Michaella Surat spoke to "GMA" about a police altercation captured on video.

ByABC News
April 13, 2017, 7:46 AM

— -- A woman who was slammed onto the sidewalk by a Colorado police officer last week spoke out for the first time about the incident in an exclusive interview that aired today with "Good Morning America," saying she was left both physically and emotionally hurt by the encounter.

Michaella Surat, 22, a college junior and sorority member, suffered several bruises, a concussion and a chin contusion, according to her family, after an April 6 incident with police in Ft. Collins, Colorado.

Speaking to "GMA," Surat said tearfully it felt like "all my bones were shattering in my face...and I was so humiliated and everyone was watching me."

Video of the incident soon went viral, sparking widespread backlash on social media.

"I can't go to school without worrying someone's going to assault me, I'm getting death threats," the student said.

Police were called to the scene of an area bar the night of April 6 to break up a fight between Surat's boyfriend and another man. Police allege that while officers were talking to witnesses, Surat shoulder-checked a bouncer and a police officer while trying to reach her boyfriend.

Surat detailed the events of that evening saying, "I found out my boyfriend got kicked out of the bar and so I went outside just to see what happened -- and then the altercation happened and one thing led to another and it just escalated."

The Fort Collins Police Services did not respond to ABC News' request for further comment. In a statement on Sunday, Chief John Hutto said the incident would be "thoroughly investigated."

He added, however, that the videos posted to social media do not offer a complete picture of what happened.

"As with most events of this type, the short, publicly-available video does not have the context or content of the full event," Hutto said in a statement. "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."

The incident was also captured by police body cameras worn by the officers at the scene, but that video from the body cameras will not be released until the investigation is complete, Hutto said.

Surat's parents Michael and Kathy, who appeared along with Surat during the interview, said the video was too hard to watch. "I saw the video briefly and I can't watch it -- I just can't watch it, I can't do it," her father told "GMA."

Surat's mother described how she felt after hearing that her daughter had been involved in an altercation that night.

"I didn't know what happened -- he [Michaella's boyfriend] said that she was thrown into the ground by a police officer and...we lost it and we were scrambling and got here as fast as we can and by the time we got up here she was in jail,” said Kathy Surat.

For her part, Surat said she was hoping to get an explanation from the police.

"I would like an apology or an explanation to why it escalated to the point of body slamming me into the concrete," she said.

Police said they used a "standard arrest control to subdue" Surat, but her family says she bears the physical marks that shows the officers went too far.

Surat's attorney, Andrew Bertrand, said he was shocked after the District Attorney showed him the video.

"I was extremely appalled," he said. "Certainly my client Michaella...she was confused about where her boyfriend was. She looked highly irritated, but nothing I saw in that video warranted this." Bertrand added that the officer "was very aggressive."

Surat said the bruises on her body are starting to heal, but that she still has bruises and pain. "I can't open my mouth to eat. It just hurts to clench down," she said while crying.

Her father said he thinks if the incident had gone even the slightest bit more awry, their family would be in a much different place.

"One little hair off differently that could have been her death -- we could have been planning her funeral," he said.

Surat was charged with third-degree assault and obstructing an officer. She has a disposition hearing scheduled for next month.