Ex-Cop Anthony Abbate Denies Trying To Cover Up Bartender Beating
Updated 10/23/12 – 6:47 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — The former Chicago cop caught on video punching and kicking a petite bartender on Tuesday denied asking any of his fellow officers to help cover up the beating.
CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports former police officer Anthony Abbate was back on the witness stand Tuesday, a day after claiming he was acting in self-defense when he pummeled Karolina Obrycka in 2007.
The 265-pound Abbate was caught on video as he beat 115-pound Obrycka after she refused to continue serving him alcohol at the bar where she works.
He was convicted of aggravated battery in 2009, sentenced to probation, and fired from the Police Department. Now, he is the defendant in a federal trial of the lawsuit filed by Obrycka.
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Abbate isn’t the only one on trial. The entire Chicago Police Department is also a defendant, because Obrycka claims the department and Abbate tried to cover up what he did.
On Monday, Abbate took the stand and claimed he was acting in self-defense when he repeatedly punched and kicked Obrycka, claiming he felt he was in physical danger from her.
However, he admitted he didn’t remember much from that night.
On Tuesday, Obrycka’s attorney said he believes Abbate has a case of selective memory.
Abbate admitted he was very drunk when he pummeled Obrycka. Because of that, he told jurors he can’t remember much from that incident – including why there were more than 100 calls to and from his phone in the hours after the attack – many of them involving other police officers.
Asked by city attorneys if he was aware of any officers that did him favors during the investigation, Abbate said no. He also testified he never asked any officers to do him any favors.
But Obrycka’s attorney, Terry Ekl, said Abbate was not telling the truth on the stand.
“He’s all over the lot, in terms of trying to explain. At times, he wants to say ‘I don’t remember any calls,’ and then wants to tell you that he didn’t do certain things,” Ekl said outside court. “He wants to tell you he doesn’t remember anything in the bar, but he also wants to tell you what motivated him to do certain things in the bar, so there’s just a ton of inconsistencies in what he said.”
Ekl tried to show jurors that, despite Abbate’s claims of a blackout, he managed to remember what he wanted from the night of the beating. Ekl tripped Abbate up in a few lines of questioning.
On his selective memory, Abbate’s attorney Mike Malatesta said, “I think what he testified to was he didn’t remember certain details about a number of conversations.”
The case has grabbed Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s attention.
“I think it’s time that we get to the bottom, and put these types of issues behind us, and get justice served,” he said Tuesday.
Abbate’s girlfriend also testified Tuesday.
Late Tuesday afternoon, Obrycka’s attorneys began addressing the cover-up allegations in her lawsuit. The trial is expected to last two to three weeks.