After avoiding jail time for pummeling a petite bartender, former Chicago police officer Anthony Abbate heads to court Monday over a lawsuit that alleges he and the city engaged in a cover up to protect Abbate from allegations of police brutality.
The lawsuit filed by Karolina Obrycka, the bartender seen on surveillance video being thrown against the wall, punched in the face and kicked by Abbate, alleges Chicago Police officers and other higher-level police officials tried to cover up the incident and the incendiary video to protect Abbate. Obrycka's suit zeroes in on the CPD's alleged “code of silence.” According to the lawsuit,
"Plaintiff argues that there is an attendant “code of silence” that exists within the CPD, whereby officers conceal each other’s misconduct in contravention of their sworn duties."
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that after Obrycka called 911, didn’t mention another cop was suspected of the beating or that it was videotaped, the report filed by the responding officers failed to mention that a city police officer was the suspect or that the incident was videotaped. Abbate was charged with simple batter, a misdemeanor, after police officials viewed the surveillance tapes and the charge was later upped to a felony aggravated battery charge after the video was released by Fox Chicago.
In the 2007 attack, Abbate was off-duty, drinking at Jesse's Short Stop Inn in the Portage Park neighborhood where Obrycka was bartending. The Chicago Tribune reported witnesses saying Abbate "consumed large quantities of alcohol during two separate visits to the bar that day." The ex-cop was cut off by a bartender on his first visit to the bar, and was later cut off by Obrycka during his second visit.
After Obrycka refused to serve him, the 250 pound Abbate went behind the bar and began beating the 125 pound bartender, allegedly yelling, "nobody tells me what to do."
Abbate was found guilty in 2009 of aggravated battery after a judge dismissed his claim that he acted in self-defense. His sentence earned him a two-year probation sentence, and he was later fired by the CPD.
Read the full lawsuit here and scroll down to watch a report on the Abbate case: