Cassandra Feuerstein has won $875,000 from a Chicago suburb after video showed an officer throwing her into a jail cell following a DUI arrest with so much force that she hit her head on a concrete bench. The force of the blow caused a bone in her face to break, along with numerous loose teeth. The viral video of the encounter caused national outrage, with many demanding action in the case. The horrifying video showed Feuerstein hitting her head on the bench, and an officer scooping her up off the ground which was covered in blood. The incident took place at the Skokie Police Station earlier this year.
The Daily Mail reports that Cassandra Feuerstein won $875,000 from the Chicago suburb of Skokie after surveillance video captured the woman being thrown into her jail cell after a DUI arrest. The startling video of the encounter was released by the Skokie Police Department and caused significant outrage, as an officer can be seen throwing the woman into the cell face-first. She is tossed across the entire cell by the man and lands face-first on a concrete bench. She falls to the ground and a pool of blood forms below her.
The incident took place in March of 2013, after Cassandra Feuerstein was arrested for a DUI. Upon arriving at the Skokie Police Station, video shows Cassandra following police officer orders. A female officer enters the cell with her and begins patting her down. Feuerstein complies with the officers orders to give them her shoes and bra, and the pat down continues. However, things took an ugly turn when a male police officer returned with Feuerstein following a mugshot and forcefully pushes her into the jail cell. The former Skokie police officer, Michael Hart, was the officer in question and initially claimed that Cassandra “resisted police” during the altercation, but the video clearly shows she was not. The officer later pleaded guilty to official misconduct and was sentenced to two years of probation.
According to the report, former officer Michael Hart was upset when Cassandra was allegedly not “looking into the camera the way the officer wanted.” However, as Cassandra’s lawyer noted, that was not a justifiable reason to throw the woman into the jail cell in the manner presented in the video.
“She does nothing to justify what this male police officer does. If this was a tavern fight, which of course it wasn’t, it’d be like she got sucker-punched.”
The Chicago Tribune notes that the town of Skokie has agreed to pay the woman $875,000 as a settlement for the excessive force claim and resulting injuries. The $875,000 comes from two separate rulings, once against the city itself and the other against the three officers involved in the incident. However, the city says they will be taking responsibility for the police officer’s actions and paying their fees to Feuerstein. On September 24 in U.S. District Court, Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman and Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez ruled that the village alone is held accountable for $250,000 to Feuerstein, and $625,000 is the responsibility of three officers named in the lawsuit. Though the officers were deemed responsible, Skokie has agreed to take responsibility for all three officer’s actions so that Feuerstein will see her full payment.
Meanwhile, the Skokie Police Department says that the actions of one officer should not reflect on the whole.
“It should be noted that numerous police officers dealt with the situation that night. It was only one officer who created the incident.”
What do you think about the $875,000 ruling in the Cassandra Feuerstein police brutality lawsuit?
[Image via YouTube/Chicago Tribune]