Skokie Places Arrested Cop On Leave, Continues Investigating

Village officials reiterated they are concerned about the woman in police custody who suffered injuries; they may bring disciplinary action against the officer.

After Skokie Police Officer Michael Hart was charged with felony aggravated battery and official misconduct charges Wednesday, Skokie village officials announced they are placing him on paid administrative leave. They plan to complete an internal investigation and may bring disciplinary action, they said.

Earlier: Cook County State's Attorney Charges Skokie Officer Michael Hart In Cassandra Feuerstein case. 

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez' office brought the felony charges against Hart because of a March 10 incident in which he forcibly shoved Cassandra Feuerstein, who was being processed at the Skokie Police Station, into a cement bench, shattering her facial bones and resulting in severe injuries, Alvarez' office said.

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The statement from the village follows. 

Village of Skokie officials today announced that they have placed a 19-year veteran police officer on administrative leave as the Village finalizes its internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the treatment of a woman in police custody for a DUI arrest early this year.

Officials also pledged the Village’s ongoing, continuing support and assistance to prosecutors, who today announced that the officer has been charged with felony counts of aggravated battery and official misconduct for his role in the March 10 incident, which took place at the Skokie Police Department Headquarters.

“We have said before that the Village is deeply concerned about the injuries suffered by a woman in the custody of the Skokie Police Department,” said Skokie Village Manager Al Rigoni. “That’s why we initiated an immediate internal investigation to get at the facts of this case. The Village and the Police Department provided exemplary assistance to Cook County prosecutors as they investigated this case. Now, with the completion of the state’s investigation and decision to file charges against the officer, we are able to complete our internal investigation before determining disciplinary action.”

The officer, who had been assigned to desk duty during the ongoing, internal investigation, has been relieved of his police powers and is currently in a paid- leave status in accordance with applicable employment laws and pending completion of the Village’s internal investigation. Village officials said they would complete their investigation and take appropriate action. The complainant has since plead guilty to a charge of DUI.

In a letter sent to Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez last week, the Village requested that her investigators complete their investigation in a timely manner so as not to further delay the Village’s own internal investigation.

“We are pleased that the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office moved ahead with this matter because it allows us to also proceed in a way that is fair and brings a timely resolution to this unfortunate incident,” said Rigoni.

This is the first time in many decades that a Skokie police officer has been criminally charged as result of any duty-related activity.

“I am proud of the work the Skokie Police Department does every day. Our officers perform a difficult job extraordinarily well,” said Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen. “I am even more proud of the strong relationship our officers have developed with the residents they are sworn to protect. It is every officer’s duty to treat members of the public professionally and respectfully. The Village will complete its review shortly and take appropriate actions.”

Local Resident October 30, 2013 at 08:21 PM
I agree with you shp ,the mayor and his croonies need to be outed immediately! What can residents do to get them the hell out of office ? From the Chief up, all the chain of commands need to be broken. There is no leadership in Skokie only dishonest wise guy types with multitudes of blant lies. This is a disgrace to hardworking taxpayers and citizens of Skokie. That gawky fort of a police station, wanting a military tank style tanker driving around busing up the already ruined streets. What has happened to Skokie ? There is no feeling of community, no feeling of safety, thugs and punks in police uniforms. So we watch Hart go through the motions, but i doubt he will get jail time. One thing is for certain, Skokie will pay big for this. The crime is out of control, we want to look at the positives, but where it is I can"t see. We need officials dedicated, living in town and experiencing the daily issues as we do. That brings about change. Skokie has become the town with a mall, a few McDonalds, gas stations, 7-Elevens and the expressway to get the hell on. Under the current leadership some of that will be lost. Who will stick around when their place of business are robbed often. How much longer can we stay locked up in our homes to avoid being victims.
Concern Citizen October 30, 2013 at 10:25 PM
I agree with you all, and who gonna pay for this of course us the taxpayers. And I heard this morning one of the son of the three fatality accident in Glenview by a Skokie Garbage truck filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Village of Skokie. Wow, that's another taxpayers expending dollar for the cause of irresponsible employee of the Village. tsk! tsk! We have to remember this on next election day we need a NEW mayor and officials for a change.
Frank October 30, 2013 at 10:47 PM
You saw where that got us in the last election...people votes for the status quo...stupid. I hope there is insurance to cover some of these legal actions, or as usual the poor tax payer takes another one on the chin. So to all you dopes who voted for status quo this is what you get.
Steven M Levin November 05, 2013 at 08:41 AM
Chief Scarpelli should be fired too !! He did nothing after a person in custody leaves via ambulance. Doesn't take 6 months for an investigation. They did nothing hoping this went away. Why wasn't hart put on desk duty in March pending investigation ??


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