Police officers are expected to do what’s necessary to restrain suspects, but unfortunately many law enforcement officials take part in various forms of police brutality. Recently, an incident involving excessive force toward a 47-year-old woman in Skokie has landed him in trouble with the law. 43-year-old police officer Michael Hart faces two felony charges for shoving Cassandra Feuerstein face-first into a jail cell bench.
This is the footage that resulted in the charges against Hart:
Misconduct and Aggravated Battery
Incidents involving police brutality are more commonplace than they should be, which is why police brutality attorneys are available to help victims receive compensation for injuries.
In this case, officer Hart’s use of excessive force resulted in serious injuries to Feuerstein’s face, including damaged vision and teeth, as well as a fractured eye socket requiring reconstructive surgery. A titanium plate has also been placed in her cheek as a result of the injuries sustained.
Prosecutors claim that Hart caused injury to Feuerstein after he became frustrated over her refusal to look in a specific direction when taking her mug shot. Hart’s defense attorney argues that the victim resisted a lawful order, but given the available footage, that defense may be difficult to maintain.
The specific charges the officer faces include aggravated battery and official misconduct, with this type of battery classified as a Class 3 felony entailing a sentence ranging from probation to five years, along with up to $10,000 in fines. In Illinois, aggravated battery constitutes conduct that causes disfigurement, permanent disability or severe bodily injury.
Official misconduct—Hart’s other charge—results when an officer fails to perform legal duties or takes part in other unlawful acts while acknowledging his or her wrongdoing. The video footage suggests that Hart had either recklessly or intentionally used excessive force, which is punishable by law with the help of police brutality lawyers.
Fighting for Your Rights
Police brutality is often intimidating enough to prevent victims from speaking out, especially out of fear of being arrested and experiencing additional legal repercussions. However, police brutality attorneys are there to help brutality victims receive the comfort they need while helping them understand their rights as citizens. By taking action against brutality, law enforcement officials who abuse their power may find more discouragement to continue their behavior.