Skokie (IL) police officer Michael Hart, 43, has been stripped of his police powers and placed on administrative leave following his arrest Wednesday, October 30, on charges of aggravated battery and official misconduct. The charges stem from an incident from March of this year that was caught on surveillance cameras at the Skokie jail.
The Bright.com first brought you this story when the woman shown being shoved into the jail cell filed a civil rights lawsuit seeking unspecified damages. The woman, Cassandra Feuerstein admits to driving drunk when she was picked up in March but said her treatment by Hart was excessive and Cook County prosecutors agree.
During the booking process, Hart attempted to get Feuerstein to look at the camera in a certain location. When she wouldn’t cooperate, Hart took her over to an open detention cell, at which point, Feuerstein attempted to grab both sides of the door to the cell and asked for another chance. Hart then put both hands on Feuerstein’s back and shoved her across the cell with such force that her head slammed into the cell’s concrete bench. Feuerstein suffered a fracture to her right orbital bone, loosened some of her teeth and caused a deep cut on her cheek. She has undergone facial reconstruction and continues to have dental and eye problems.
If convicted on these felony charges, Hart faces a sentence of probation to up to five years. He was released on $75,000 bond and had no comment for the press.
The Village of Skokie is continuing its own internal investigation and will take appropriate action once the investigation is concluded.