- (Photo: Screen Grab via NBC Chicago)
The Skokie Police Department in Illinois is now at the center of a lawsuit after one of their officers allegedly smashed a 110-pound Chicago woman's face into a cement bench and cracked bones in her face for not looking at a camera while she was being processed for a DUI charge.
The lawsuit, according to NBC Chicago alleges that the police officer, Michael Hart, used excessive force and violated the civil rights of Cassandra Feuerstein, 47.
Feuerstein claims a number of bones were shattered in her face and forced her to have reconstructive surgery as well as a titanium plate in her cheek as a result of the officer's treatment.
Police reportedly arrested Feuerstein after they found her pulled over at the side of the road and sleeping while still behind the wheel of her car.
A three-minute surveillance video shows the woman calmly interacting with an officer while in custody in a small holding area. She says during the interaction she asked to call her husband. Officer Hart reportedly calls her out of the cell and she steps out of view of the surveillance camera.
A few seconds later, the officer, identified as Hart, is seen aggressively shoving Feuerstein into the cell as her face slams onto the cement bench inside and begins bleeding profusely.
Two other officers are then seen coming to her aid.
"This can go from zero to 60 so quickly, like this man did with someone who's clearly no threat to him is dangerous -- could be dangerous with that type of power that he has," said Feuerstein's attorney, Torri Hamilton. "She doesn't even know, we don't even know what she's going to need in the future."
"She was compliant, she was doing as she was told. What she was really concerned about and the thing she was most upset about that she wanted to call her children to let them know she was OK, because she wasn't home," Hamilton told My Fox Chicago.
"I think when you look at this and you see the video which we are so fortunate to have, I think what you see is this is like the cowardly act of a bully," Hamilton added.
Feuerstein pleaded guilty to drunk driving but the state's attorney dropped the resisting arrest charges, according to NBC. Hamilton also noted that her client filed the civil suit because no charges are currently being pursued against officer Hart.
A spokesman for the Village of Skokie told My Fox Chicago that they have not yet been served with the complaint in this case but when it happens the village lawyers will examine it.