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Former Skokie cop gets probation for shoving woman in cell

A former Skokie Police officer was sentenced to two of years probation Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to official misconduct for shoving a woman in the lockup at the north suburb’s police station, causing severe injury to her face.

Cassandra Feuerstein, who suffered nerve damage in her face in the March 2013 attack, was glad that Michael Hart was charged for the crime but thinks he got a “slap on the wrist,” said Torri Hamilton, a lawyer who is representing Feuerstein in a pending civil lawsuit.

“She came into my office yesterday and the right side of her face was still swollen because of an abscess. . . . She’s still struggling but he can go on with his life,” Hamilton said Wednesday evening.

Cassandra Feuerstein, of Chicago, is suing the Skokie Police and Village for injuries she claims happen to her while in police custody, and was shoved by a Skokie Police Officer into a concrete bench in the jail holding cell.

Cassandra Feuerstein, of Chicago, who suffered nerve damage in her face in the March 2013 attack, was glad that Michael Hart, the former Skokie Police officer, was charged, but thinks he got a “slap on the wrist,” said her lawyer, Torri Hamilton.

Hart, now 45, was originally charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct in October 2013.

The 19-year police veteran resigned from the Skokie Police Department a few weeks later.

In addition to probation, Cook County Judge Matthew Coghlan on Wednesday ordered Hart to pay $674 in fines, according to court records.

Hart attacked Feuerstein while he helped her get fingerprinted and photographed for her DUI arrest, authorities said.

When Feuerstein refused to look at a specific location for the booking photo, Hart “became irate” and grabbed Feuerstein by the arm and pulled her towards an open cell, prosecutors said.

Feuerstein tried to use both hands to grab the sides of the doorway to regain her balance and asked for another photo.

But Hart put both of his hands on her back and pushed her into the cell, causing her head to propel forward and slam into an unpadded concrete bench.

The incident was captured on the police station’s surveillance videos.

Feuerstein, now 48, suffered a fractured right orbital bone, loosened teeth and a deep cut on her cheek. The West Rogers Park woman required reconstructive surgery after the incident and had to get a titanium plate in her cheek.

Feuerstein pleaded guilty to the DUI and was sentenced to one year of supervision, according to court records.