Judge could wipe away Abbate verdict

A federal judge could rule Friday on whether to set aside a jury verdict against an off-duty Chicago cop who beat up a bartender.

December 7, 2012

Lauren Chooljian and Alex Keefe

A federal judge could rule Friday on whether to set aside a jury verdict against an off-duty Chicago cop who beat up a bartender.

Anthony Abbate is the former Chicago police officer who was caught on tape beating bartender Karolina Obrycka back in 2007.  Last month, jurors decided that a code of silence among Chicago cops helped shield Abbate from police misconduct. The city is set to pay Obrycka $850,000 in damages.

But the two parties recently asked a federal judge to set aside the verdict.  Locke Bowman, legal director of the Solange and Roderick Macarthur Justice Center at Northwestern, said to wipe out the verdict would be troubling.

"If that code of silence exists, it has done extraordinary harm," Bowman said. It’s enabled the Burge scandal, it’s enabled the Koschman cover-up, it’s enabled hundreds of garden variety instances of police misconduct to go undetected.It is an evil and it needs to be changed." 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said setting aside the verdict would be the right move.

"This agreement, in my view, closes a chapter on something, before I was mayor [that] happened. And it also allows us to protect the city against future lawsuits," Emanuel said.

The motion is scheduled to come before Judge Amy St. Eve on Friday morning. If she grants the motion, Obrycka would still recieve the $850,000.