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Anthony Abbate Jr. Fri Oct 26 2012
by Julia Gray
Thursday, Day 4 Continued
Turns out that Anthony Abbate's childhood friend, city truck driver Gary Ortiz, is a self-proclaimed "phone-aholic." He's also friends with Patti Chiriboga and Abbate's girlfriend Linda Burnickas, and he used to dig on hanging out at Jesse's Shortstop Inn. In fact, he liked Jesse's so much, he ended up there the night of the incident right after it happened. No, he wasn't summoned by either Abbate or Chiriboga, he heard it on his police scanner that the cops were at the bar doing a "license check."
That makes me want a scanner too, but I hear they're tough to come by these days.
A "license check" you ask? Yes, according to Ortiz who heard the term from his pal Abbate, whenever cops are called to a bar for whatever reason, it's protocol to make sure the establishment's liquor license is up to date because if it isn't, it could spell a whole lot of ick for the owners. I mean, they'd then have to figure out which palms to grease in order to update the license, see. (Fortunately for Jesse's, the license was good to go.)
After hearing about the license check, Ortiz decided to call Chiriboga to see what was up, and surprise, all memories involved here were "foggy." He eventually moseyed on over to the bar and is seen on the tape talking to the cops, but he doesn't remember what was said. After that conversation, he called Abbate. In fact, Ortiz made over 20 calls that day and well into the morning of Feb. 20. (Hence the "phone-aholic" moniker.) Abbate called Ortiz about six times after the incident, and during one of the calls Ortiz informed Abbate that the cops gave Obrycka a police report. Ortiz knew of this report because she had shown it to him. Ortiz also gave Burnickas the bar's phone number at one point, too.
Turns out all Ortiz was trying to do that evening was find out what happened. When asked by both Mr. Ekl and Ms. Rubens if Ortiz was playing consigliere by telling Obrycka that Abbate would pay her expenses due to his "oops" if she didn't press charges, he denied it. He also said he wouldn't lie for Abbate and he does consider Abbate to be "a jackass."
"Not going to jail... wouldn't lie for nobody," he said during Ms. Rubens's cross-examination.
Thursday's festivities began with Dr. Steven Whitman, an epidemiologist and statistician at Chicago's Mount Sinai Hospital, explaining at-times confusing data, about how Chicago lags behind the rest of the nation when it comes to upholding excessive force complaints against officers between the years 1999 and 2004. In fact, only 2.7 percent of the complaints were upheld compared to the national average of 6 percent. These findings stirred up all sorts of jaw-clenching and subtle yet loud declarations of incompetence during cross-examination by city attorney Matthew Hurd.
It seemed like the courtroom was just waiting for Hurd to tap his inner Jack McCoy with a dismissive and snarky, "I'm FINISHED with this witness, your honor!"
Friday, Day 5
Today was police officer day on the witness stand. Some were friendlier with Abbate than others, and most remembered talking to him either on the phone or in person at one time or another before and after the incident. But, none remembered what was said or why so many phone calls were flying to and fro after the incident. Chicago Police Officer Joseph Boroff was admonished by the defense for not memorizing his phone records — ever. Boroff did believe that Abbate needed rehab for his drinking and everyone thought the courtroom was too cold.
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.