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Anthony Abbate Jr. Mon Oct 29 2012
By Julia Gray
Former Los Angeles Police Officer/Sergeant/Lieutenant/Commander and finally Deputy Chief of Police and now police misconduct expert, Lou Reiter, testified today in the Obrycka vs. The City of Chicago and Anthony Abbate, Jr. civil trial. Reiter has worked all over Los Angeles in the LAPD and at one point oversaw roughly 1,500 officers. Also during his long career with the LAPD, he investigated employee misconduct within the force. He made disciplinary recommendations, aided in setting up a standards and practices guideline for the force that was eventually a model for all police departments in the US. Reiter was employed by the LAPD from 1961 to 1981, and then he moved to Tallahassee, FL in 1983 to become a police consultant.
In other words, it's safe to say that Reiter knows the police business. So far, he's the plaintiff's most important witness since he's a big believer that code of silence exists within the Chicago Police Department. What about this case stuck in Reiter's craw? Well, he wasn't too fond of the time not long after the attack when two investigators showed up at Obrycka's house with a blank misdemeanor battery arrest report for her to sign. Oh and the cops leaving Jesse's Shortstop Inn the night of the incident without even looking at the video tape bugged Reiter, too. The 22 days when none of Abbate's bosses had a clue as to where he was wasn't a good thing either, according to Reiter.
Seems like if you're the superintendent of the CPD, and are constantly yammering on and on that the code of silence doesn't exist within the CPD, you should probably make sure your underlings don't participate in behaviors that say otherwise.
City attorney Scott Jebson seemed to find Reiter's expertise questionable since Reiter didn't bother to read the 600-page internal police report about the beating. Reiter countered Jebson's claim, and said he wasn't hired to examine Abbate's behavior during the incident.
Licensed psychologist Dr. Janet Robinson treated Karolina Obrycka for two and a half years, starting about a year after the beating. Her diagnosis? Obrycka suffered from a severe case of PTSD from the incident. I know, I know — I was surprised too that a woman who probably weighs 115 lbs. soaking wet was traumatized after having the crap kicked and punched out of her by a drunken 265-lb. sot.
Karolina Obrycka is 30 years old, is married and has a 7-year-old son. She's from Poland originally so English is not her native tongue. She worked the 6pm to 2am shift at Jesse's Shortstop Inn on Feb. 19, 2007. When Abbate attacked her because she cut him off, she initially tried to stop him.
"Hands over my neck, head hitting shelves behind me and throwing me on the floor like a rag doll. He told me 'no one tells me what to do,'" Obrycka said on the stand today. She said she felt his punches, his fists striking her and her hair being pulled by Abbate.
"Am I going to see my son again? I was scared at this moment," she said.
The rest of Obrycka's testimony is well known to followers of the case: She called the cops, they showed up and so did the manager of the bar and his wife. They were ready to show the cops the tape, and at first, it appeared that the cops were interested in viewing the tape, but they took off. Patti Chiriboga wanted to see the tape too and find out what happened so she came back to the bar even though her shift was over hours before. She also learned during the post-attack chaos that Abbate was a cop, and that his girlfriend, Linda Burnickas, and friends were trying to find out more info about her — like her last name for instance. Obrycka was starting to get scared at this point and instead of walking after her shift, she cabbed it home. Plus, the pain from the attack was starting to make an appearance and when she got home, she discovered she had "marks" (bruises) on her back and shoulders.
The next day, Obrycka went to the ER because of the pain. The docs gave her pain meds and muscle relaxers. Why didn't she go to the hospital right after the attack?
"My parents told me that if you're not bleeding, you're OK," she said.
Obrycka went to the ER again on Feb. 21 because the pain was still quite unbearable. This time, the docs took pictures of her bruises. Also during this time, mum was the word in the CPD's world. She heard nothing from the department. Abbate was still on the job and she learned via Chiriboga and Kolodciez of Abbate's threats if the tape wasn't delivered to him. Also, around this time is when the two investigators showed up at Obrycka's house to attempt to get her to sign the aforementioned misdemeanor battery arrest request.
Stay tuned for more of Obrycka on Tuesday.
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.