The victim's facial bones shattered, she has had surgeries, serious pain and a titanium plate, and cannot eat very well, her lawyer said in a civil suit against a Skokie police officer and the village.
Attorney Torri Hamilton of Chicago announced a lawsuit Wednesday complaining a Skokie police officer hurled a 110-pound woman into a cement bench inside the Skokie police station, breaking facial bones and resulting in surgeries, an internal titanium plate to hold bones together, difficulty in eating, severe pain and having her face shaped differently on one side.
Skokie police had charged the woman, Cassandra Feuerstein, 47, of Chicago, with driving under the influence of alcohol on March 10. Police found her pulled over at the side of the road and asleep at the wheel, according to nbcchicago.com.
Hamilton said the incident happened while Feuerstein was being booked and was in a cement holding cell, with a cement bench.
The attorney said she obtained the video, attached to this story and used here courtesy of chicago.cbslocal.com, from the Skokie police. Feuerstein is seeking compensatory damages and other relief unspecified in the lawsuit, which was filed against Officer Michael Hart and the Village of Skokie.
A spokeswoman for the village of Skokie, Ann Tennes, said the village had not yet received the lawsuit, and that village counsel will review the documents after they arrive.
The video shows a female police officer removing Feuerstein's shoes, and Feuerstein removing her bra and handing it to the female officer. Then Feuerstein walks out of the cell's open door, which Hamilton said she did because police directed her to come out to have her photo taken.
"He (Officer Hart) wrote in the report that she had a smirk on her face and she's not looking where he wants her to look," Hamilton said in a telephone interview Wednesday.
The video next shows a police officer pushing Feuerstein into the room, and her body flies across the room with unexpected speed before she hits the cement bench and crumples onto the floor. The video shows other police officers tending to her injuries; the complaint said she was bleeding profusely, and Hamilton said she was taken to a hospital emergency room.
"I think he was just annoyed because she was complaining that she wasn't allowed to call her kids," Hamilton said. Feuerstein has two daughters.
"In a cowardly act of bullying, he launches her into a room made of cement," Hamilton said.
The original Skokie police report of the incident says Feuerstein was also charged with obstructing an resisting a peace officer. Hamilton said "they stated she put her hands up and refused to go into the cell."
Hamilton said Cook County prosecutors dismissed those charges after reviewing the video. Feuerstein's lawsuit complains Hart made those charges without probable cause and maliciously, causing her financial and emotional damages.