June 23rd, 2009
03:22 PM ET

Cop escapes jail time despite beating caught on tape!

Ismael Estrada
AC360° Producer

I was sitting at home in Chicago when I saw the video for the first time. An off-duty officer was caught on surveillance tape beating a female bartender in February of 2007. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! The guy was huge. Anthony Abbate was behind the bar slamming the woman around, throwing her to the ground and punching her over and over in the head. I called a couple friends who are cops here in Chicago to ask if they knew this guy. One friend told me, “He deserves every day he gets behind bars! This gives us such a bad name.”

I knew the attorney, Terry Ekl, who had the tape. I gave him a call and he met me at our Chicago bureau in the morning with his client, the bartender who was beaten, Karolina Obyrcka. I remember thinking that Obyrcka was small, but I was also impressed with the fact that she was able to walk away from the beating she took.

Obyrcka told us her story which you were able to see on AC360° that night and gave us a copy of the surveillance tape. During the interview she says she refused to serve Abbate any more drinks when he became enraged. She says he went behind the bar and started to beat her. Abbate admitted during the trial that he was drunk during the incident, but also says the 5’ 3” bartender was the aggressor in the violent scuffle.

Today, two-and-a-half years later, Obyrcka was in court to hear the sentencing for Abbate. He was found guilty of aggravated battery in the incident, after a judge rejected Abbate’s claim that he was acting in self defense when he threw, punched and kicked Obyrcka. Abbate was offered an opportunity to address the judge before sentencing, but declined. He never offered an apology to the bartender who is more than half his size. He was given his sentence, two years probation, community service, and ordered to take anger management classes. No jail time. None. Abbate must feel like the luckiest man in the world.

Outside the courtroom, Obyrcka said she was disappointed Abbate didn’t get a stiffer penalty, but also disappointed Abbate never said he was sorry. The Chicago Police Department says that Abbate “has been relieved of his police duties and is suspended pending separation.”

Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Ismael Estrada
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. jim

    if this had been a black police who beat a white women bartender off duty, ask your self would it have been the same results? what do you think?

    June 29, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  2. Dennis McGee

    Why doesn't the video play of the cop who assaulted the female bartender?

    June 25, 2009 at 5:45 am |
  3. Carmon Roy

    Was the judge a man in this case? I can't believe that this guy got off with just probation! This was not justice at it's best. I watched the tape when this story first aired and again yesterday when the story about the sentence came out, that guy could have easily killed that woman the way he tossed her around-what kind of sentence would he have gotten then?

    June 24, 2009 at 7:39 pm |
  4. tommy2

    This guy will be back in court. People like him don't stop.

    June 24, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  5. felicia king

    well, at least he won't serve as a police officer anymore. I hate to say it, but i'm sure the guy was white. never saw the video, but my instincts say he is just because he got off so easy. go figure.

    June 24, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  6. Jeff S

    RE cop beating bartender

    I hope you do not let this one go.
    Would I get probation if I got drunk and beat a female cop?

    Hopefully there will be civil suit.

    Jeff S

    June 23, 2009 at 11:23 pm |
  7. Janet

    On a local level, this angers me more than anything. I am a survivor of the Burge and crew torture tactics, in the late 70's and 80's. Nothing seems to change with them or the criminal justice system. Cops do wrong, DA and ADA's either ignore or reduce crimes and if it makes it that far, judges do the same. They are the root of the problem with all the teenage killings in Chicago. The kids have no respect for criminal justice. The kids know that the same cops who are suppose to uphold the law, will either ignore crimes for a payoff, or torture them, some of them innocent, into making confessions.

    I hope the Olympic Committee considers this before deciding to hold the 2012 Olympics in Chicago. It could be an International embarrassment.

    June 23, 2009 at 9:36 pm |
  8. Annie Kate

    At least the police department is firing him for his actions but an apology would have been nice – the soon to be -ex-cop could have gone out with some class (well, maybe.....)

    June 23, 2009 at 7:59 pm |