Ill. cop charged with battery in videotaped jail cell incident
Officer Michael Hart has been arrested and charged with felonies in connection with an incident caught on video that shows him allegedly shoving a woman into a jail cell
SKOKIE, Ill. — A Skokie police officer has been arrested and charged with felonies in connection with an incident caught on video that shows him allegedly shoving a woman into a jail cell, causing serious injuries, authorities said.
The officer, Michael Hart, 43, was charged today with felony aggravated battery and official misconduct in the incident, according to Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez's office. The woman, who was in police custody after a drunken driving arrest last March, suffered facial fractures that required surgery and other injuries, according to authorities and also to a civil lawsuit the woman, Cassandra Feuerstein of Chicago, filed against the village of Skokie.
According to the state's attorney, Hart, of Gurnee, became irate after the woman repeatedly disregarded his commands while he was trying to get her fingerprints and mug shot. The officer then "grabbed her forcibly by the arm," pulled her toward a cell, then used both hands to shove her into the cell, the state's attorney's press release states.
The woman face and head slammed into a concrete bench, fracturing a facial bone, loosening some teeth and causing a deep cut to the face, official said. In addition to the surgery, she has suffered vision and dental problems since, the release says.
Skokie village officials had said earlier that they had "deep concern" for Feuerstein's injuries" and that Hart was placed on station duty, with no public contact, while the village and state's attorney investigated.
The village has now placed Hart on paid administrative leave pending resolution of the matter, said Dave Bayless, a village spokesman.
Hart's lawyer, Jed Stone, said he was ordered held on $75,000 bond at Cook County court today, but that his family plans to post bail. Hart is expected to be home this evening, Stone said.
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