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Ex-Cop Abbate Testifies Beating Of Bartender Was Self-Defense

By Chuck Sudo in News on Oct 23, 2012 4:40PM

Former Chicago police officer Anthony Abbate testified he doesn’t remember much of the beating he gave to a female bartender five years ago, yet insisted he believed he was in danger and was only defending himself.

Karolina Obrycka is suing the Chicago Police Department for damages in a civil lawsuit, claiming an unofficial “code of silence” culture within the Department helped to protect Abbate. Abbate was convicted on one count of battery in 2009, sentenced to two years probation, 130 hours of community service, an enforced curfew, and anger management. The Chicago Police Board later fired Abbate.

Security camera footage from the night of the incident showed Abbate repeatedly punching Obrycka. That footage later showed two friends of Abbate entering the bar and asking Obrycka to not report the incident. The video went viral and made national headlines.

Obrycka’s attorney, Ted Eckl, told jurors the beating epitomized a culture where Police Department officials refuse to hold officers accountable for their actions. The City of Chicago’s lead attorney, Matthew Hurd, said that Abbate’s actions, while deplorable, occurred when he was off duty.

"This case is simple," Hurd said. "It is not about Chicago police policy and procedures. ... It's about a guy who got drunk ... and beat up Karolina Obrycka."

Under questioning from his attorney, Abbate said the night of he beat Obrycka he drank so much the night was “pretty much a blackout.” He later contradicted himself when asked if he knew of the Department’s culture of police watching out for each other. Eckl said he plans on introducing phone records and up to 30 witnesses to prove the Police Department protected Abbate.