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Anthony Abbate Jr. Fri Dec 07 2012
By Julia Gray
Two lawyers who handle cases of police misconduct were given the go ahead by a federal judge on Friday to intervene on behalf of the public good to stop the City of Chicago's attempt to have the "code of silence" judgment of the notorious videotaped assault on a bartender by an off-duty Chicago police officer vacated.
The City of Chicago argued that the case as it stands would be detrimental to the public, taxpayers and the city, because it would open the floodgates of litigation against the City and the police department. City attorney Scott Jebson argued that the "risks of misusing the judgement in future cases" could be costly.
"We don't want the judgment improperly used," Jebson said.
Two law professors, Locke Bowman of the Roderick MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University and Craig Futterman of the University of Chicago Law School, called the City's actions "a shameful exercise" and not in the best interest of the public since it was the police department's environment that allowed the attack on Karolina Obrycka to happen.
"This is a wake-up call to the Chicago Police Department and the City to do something," Bowman said.
People's Law Office attorney Flint Taylor agrees. The City represents the public interest--as it should--and it's in the public's interest to have this finding because it will lead to a more transparent system.
"The City can deal with it by changing the culture of the police department. It's an easy thing to say, but harder to actually fix it," Taylor said.
Obrycka and her legal team have been clashing with the City over her lawsuit for roughly six years, with the City claiming that Anthony Abbate was off-duty at the time of the incident and therefore not the responsibility of either the City or the police department.
Bowman and Futterman have been given until Tuesday to file an amicus brief explaining why Judge Amy St. Eve should keep the decision intact. The City was given until next Friday to do the same. St. Eve's decision will be mailed.
"I don't want this to languish," St. Eve said. "This is something that has my attention."
Regardless of how St. Eve rules, Karolina Obrycka will receive her $850,000 award from the City by the end of the month.