Written by Pam DeFiglio, Patch.com
Seventy-five minutes' worth of surveillance video of the Skokie Police Department booking area shows what happened before Cassandra Feuerstein, who is suing the village of Skokie, was thrown forcefully by a police officer into a cement cell, hit a cement bench and shattered bones in her face, leading to surgeries and ongoing pain and medical problems.
This reporter viewed the video Friday in the office of Michael Lorge, the Skokie village attorney.
The video opens with two officers, one male and one female, leading Feuerstein into the booking area through a door and seating her on a bench. The time stamp shows it's before 7 a.m. on Sunday, March 10.
A female officer frisks Feuerstein and the first male officer on the scene (the one who led her through the door) hands a tissue to Feuerstein, who is crying. Over the next 20 minutes or so, he hands her several tissues and removes old ones.
Earlier: Lawyer says Feuerstein's 'Face Split Open'
Earlier: Skokie Responds: 'Deep Concern,' 'Isolated Incident'
The officers go to do paperwork and Feuerstein rolls or falls off the bench onto the floor and lays there. The female officer and the first male officer on the scene come over to her and help lift her back onto the bench. He takes her dirty tissues and gives her a clean tissue.
Feuerstein asked to use the bathroom.
"Maam, I really need to pee and you’re not letting me," Feuerstein says in a loud voice. The female officer tells her she'll take her in a few minutes.
"I need to urinate right now and you’re not letting me," Feuerstein can be heard saying. "This is ridiculous."
At this point, Officer Michael Hart enters in the rear of booking room, which is fairly large, and goes to the desk area.
Feuerstein is taken to the bathroom, which is off camera, and it's hard to tell from the audio whether she was able to use the bathroom successfully.
"I asked to use the bathroom and I was refused," she said, when back on camera. "And I’m still being refused, and you have laughed at me…and snickered at me."
A fourth officer, male, enters the booking area at this point.
"Did you read me my rights when I was brought in here? No, you did not," Feuerstein can be heard to say.
A male officer asks Feuerstein the phone number of the vehicle owner. Feuerstein did not own the vehicle.
The first male officer sits on the bench next to Feuerstein and talks to her, asking when she last ate, if she needed a doctor, and other things not clearly audible.
At one point, he says, "You don’t have to answer. That’s fine. Don’t worry about it."
He walks her over to the Breathalyzer machine and gives her a Breathalyzer test.
One of the male officers in the desk area talks on the phone to an unidentified friend or family member of Feuerstein.
Feuerstein continues to cry, then asks to use the bathroom and the female officer takes her.
A male officer says "Cassandra, I’ve been very nice to you," then tells her she needs to cooperate with the booking process or they will put her into a cell.
The first male officer speaks to Feuerstein again and then asks the others, “Is she allowed to use debit card for her bond?”
The female officer says “sure.”
Feuerstein cries again, and one of the officers says, "She (the vehicle owner) is not upset with you."
One of the male officers, speaking on the phone, says, "We’re trying to get her fingerprinted, if she stays here she’s going to be a pain in the butt for you.”
Officers direct Feuerstein several steps to the camera area, and Officer Hart directs her to stand on two yellow-painted foot marks that indicate where to stand to be photographed.
Hart goes there, twirls her hair, shifts her weight from foot to another and sways, looks side to side, then walks a couple of steps away.
The first officer tries to get her back into position for the photo, saying, "Just get it over with. Deep breath."
Officer Hart says, "If you refuse to be processed, you'll have to be locked up.
We’d rather not do that. We’d rather let you go home. But you’re going to have
to cooperate. Right now you are not cooperating."
Feuerstein goes back to the camera area, facing the camera but looking down. She's told to look at the camera, continues to keep her chin down, appearing to look at the floor.
"OK, you're going in a cell," Hart says.
Officers walk her through a doorway into the hallway of the cell area. This is the point in which the four-minute video widely shown on news outlets begins.
(That four-minute video, filmed in the cell, shows Feuerstein's shoes coming off, and, after instructions, she removes her bra and hands it to the female officer. The first male officer brings in a blanket and places it on the bench. Then Feuerstein walks out of the cell.)
Back to the vantage point of the long video we have been narrating, Feuerstein steps into the camera area again. Hart says, "look at the camera, lift up your head, look straight ahead," but Feuerstein does not lift her head.
Hart steps quickly over to her, takes her by the elbow and escorts her briskly to the hallway of the cell area. Nothing is seen from the vantage point of the long video we have been narrating, but on the short video, Hart is seen pushing or shoving her forcefully, and she goes flying across the cell room into a cement bench.
Now back to the long video we have been narrating. Feuerstein is heard sobbing and saying "Oh my God, I'm bleeding, oh my God."
Hart is seen getting towels.
Feuerstein cries, "Help me please, oh no. Oh no, help me."
Two other officers walk briskly into the booking room, head to the cell area and walk into the hallway, and the tape--about 75 minutes' worth-ends.
Lorge and Ann Tennes, a spokeswoman for the village, said they were not able to comment further at this time, but would do so when they are able to.