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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Bartender Beating

Intimidation charges possible in bartender beating

By David Heinzmann
Tribune staff reporter
Published March 23, 2007, 9:53 PM CDT

Prosecutors are investigating whether an employee at Jesse's Short Stop Inn passed along police threats to the bar owner after Chicago Officer Anthony Abbate was caught on videotape beating a female bartender, sources familiar with the investigation said.

The employee, allegedly a longtime friend of Abbate's, said officers would plant drugs in the bar and in the owner's and bartender's cars if they pursued a complaint after the beating, sources said.

Evidence is being considered by a Cook County grand jury, sources said, and prosecutors are considering whether to bring intimidation charges in the case.

Abbate, 38, is charged with beating Karolina Obrycka on Feb. 19 after she stopped serving him at the Northwest Side bar, prosecutors said.

He was originally charged by police with a misdemeanor, but prosecutors upgraded the charges this week to felony aggravated battery. The video of the beating has caused public outrage in Chicago and has been shown on cable news stations and Web sites across the country.

Abbate has been stripped of his police powers, and the department is moving to fire him.

Abbate's attorney, William Fahy, said his client had completed an inpatient substance-abuse treatment program on March 5 but has never been disciplined or suspended since joining the department in December 1994.

Abbate was one of five Chicago officers named in a 2001 civil lawsuit in which a man died in police custody. But the dead man's family voluntarily dropped the case after a judge dismissed the city as a defendant, city officials said.

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune


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