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Bartender Beaten By Chicago Cop Anthony Abbate Awarded $850K Civil Judgment

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 14, 2012 2:30PM

Former bartender Karolina Obrycka looked visibly relieved Tuesday evening after a federal jury awarded her $850,000 in damages and found the City of Chicago and former police officer Anthony Abbate guilty of trying to cover up a 2007 beating handed to Obrycka by a drunken Abbate.

Obrycka and her attorneys argued that a “code of silence” within the Police Department that protected Abbate in the moments after the beating, which was caught on videotape and made international headlines.

During the trial Obrycka's attorneys questioned police officers about information given to them by her that didn't make it onto the official reports of the beating, that Abbate and threatened to plant drugs on Obrycka and other employees of the bar she worked, tried to get his hands on the videotape before it went viral, and having friends offer to pay for Obrycka's medical expenses if she dropped the case. The jury found reasonable evidence that Abbate beat Obrycka and wouldn't be punished because he was a cop.

Obrycka's attorney, Terry Ekl, told reporters after the trial that, for the first time, "we proved a code of silence at every level in the Chicago Police Department." The City's Law Department released a statement condemning Abbate but denying the Police Department had any culpability in shielding him.

“Former Chicago Police Officer Anthony Abbate’s unprovoked attack on Ms. Obrycka was inexcusable and unforgiveable, and we applaud the jury’s decision to hold Abbate accountable for that attack,” the statement said.

“However, we believe Mr. Abbate alone should be held accountable for his actions. The City of Chicago respectfully disagrees with the jury’s decision that the City is responsible for Mr. Abbate’s attack on Ms. Obrycka, and we intend to challenge that verdict through post-trial motions in the trial court, and if necessary, on appeal.”

Abbate was largely silent after the verdict, save for a comment that "think (he) got a Visa card in (his) wallet" when asked how the $850,000 would be paid.