CHICAGO (CBS) — The claim that Chicago Police officers practice a code of silence to protect fellow cops is up in federal court again, this time in connection to the infamous case of former officer Anthony Abbate.
As WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports, a federal court jury will hear the allegation from bartender Karolina Obrycka, after Abbate was caught on video brutally beating her back in 2007 at the Northwest Side bar where she worked.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports
Obrycka is now suing Abbate and the City of Chicago. U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve ruled that the jury in her lawsuit will hear the allegation about the code of silence.
But Obrycka claims the officers officers omitted Abbate’s name from the report because they didn’t want to deal with him.
The City of Chicago is disputing that Obyrcka provided Abbate’s name, but acknowledges she did say her attacker was a police officer, and that it was caught on tape.
The responding officers later said they couldn’t recall if they knew at the time the attacker was a cop. Both were disciplined, but the city denies they lied so as to protect a fellow police officer.
The city did admit that the Independent Police Review Authority did find the officers violated a department rule, but didn’t specify what penalty, if any, they received.
Abbate attacked Obrycka, who is half his size, on Feb. 19, 2007, when she refused to serve him more drinks at Jesse’s Shorstop Inn, 5425 W. Belmont Ave.
Abbate was initially charged with simple battery, but the charges were upgraded to felony aggravated battery after the surveillance video of the attack went became a national sensation. He was also accused of trying to bribe Obrycka to keep quiet.
While Abbate’s actions had few defenders, some, including many rank-and-file police officers, said the attack only constituted simple battery and that the charges were only upgraded because Abbate was a police officer.
The fallout from the attack eventually led Supt. Phil Cline to resign. He was replaced by FBI veteran Jody Weis, who in turn was supplanted by current Supt. Garry McCarthy.
Observers also complained when Criminal Court Judge John Fleming sentenced Abbate to probation and spared him prison time in 2009.
Abbate was fired from the Police Department when he was convicted.