|« Cappleman OK with Giving up a Bit of Power||Anthony Abbate Civil Trial, Day 2: Code of Silence -- Fact or Fiction? »|
Anthony Abbate Jr. Mon Oct 22 2012
By Julia Gray
"He was a man, in a bar, getting drunk."
Anthony Abbate Jr. said he felt threatened by Karolina Obrycka when he pummeled and threw her around Jesse's Shortstop Inn in Chicago on February 19, 2007. But, as City attorney Matthew Hurd explained at the beginning of Abbate's civil trial today, he doesn't remember because he was drunk.
But, on the same night roughly around the time Obrycka was about to get her beat-down, Abbate does remember moving a barstool from one side of the bar to the other because it was more comfortable than the stools on that side of the bar. But he doesn't remember punching his friend three times, according to Abbate's testimony today.
A quick refresher of the case: Back in 2007, Obrycka was tending bar when she cut off then-Chicago Police Officer Anthony Abbate Jr. because he was overly intoxicated. Instead of wising up and realizing that maybe Obrycka was correct in her decision, Abbate gave her quite the throttling. Horrible? Absolutely, considering Obrycka maybe weighs 115 pounds to Abbate's 265 pounds. Almost a month after the incident, Abbate was arrested — after a flurry of activity or inactivity — depending on who's asked.
Abbate was convicted in 2009 — got probation — and lost his job. Today was day one of the civil suit against Abbate and the City of Chicago brought by Obrycka. However, money isn't the main motivation here — exposing the alleged "code of silence" that's ingrained in the Chicago Police Department's culture is.
During opening statements, Obrycka's attorney, Terry Ekl, spoke of how this alleged "code of silence" helped to cover up the crime and protect Abbate, and how Abbate's friends allegedly helped to intimidate Obrycka. Ekl also claimed Abbate informed his fellow bar patrons that he was a Chicago police officer.
Matthew Hurd, attorney for the City of Chicago, painted a much different picture, by claiming that Abbate was seriously intoxicated and doesn't remember anything from the time he went to the bar around 8pm that evening to the time he stumbled home a couple of hours later.
According to Hurd, this case is "about a guy who got drunk and sang songs and beat up Karolina Orbrycka." Then, Abbate went home, called a friend and discussed his dog and Led Zeppelin. Hurd claimed that Abbate had no idea what had happened with Obrycka until his friends informed him of his actions and he saw the videotape.
Abbate's attorney, Mike Malatesta, added during his opening remarks, "There is no justification for those actions." Malatesta addressed the jury with a low, calm voice while Abbate sat alone at the defendant's table, stone faced.
The civil trial continues Tuesday with more of Abbate's testimony, and should continue for the next two weeks.
Julia Gray is a freelance journalist who has written for the Beachwood Reporter, Time Out Chicago and TheStreet.com. She is also the occasional co-host of the Internet radio show "The Matthew Aaron Show" where she has interviewed folks like humorist Kelly Carlin, actors Timothy Busfield, Craig Bierko, and producer Mark Canton. Feel free to check out her blog.