Chicago Police Officer Faces New Charges In Videotaped Beating Of Bbartender
Friday, April 27th 2007, 5:46 pm
News On 6
CHICAGO (AP) _ A police officer accused in the beating of a bartender is facing new charges after prosecutors said he threatened to plant drugs on bar employees and arrest customers for drunken driving to keep a videotape of the attack secret.
Prosecutors announced 14 additional felony counts Friday against Anthony Abbate, a 12-year department veteran whose alleged beating of the female bartender captured attention around the world after the videotape was released to the media.
The charges include seven counts of official misconduct, one count of communicating with a witness, three counts of intimidation and three counts of conspiracy, according to Thursday's indictment.
Abbate, 38, still faces an earlier felony charge of aggravated battery. He is scheduled to be arraigned on the new charges May 16.
On Feb. 19, at a tavern on the city's northwest side, bartender Karolina Obrycka, 24, was allegedly beaten after she refused to serve the off-duty officer more drinks. Video from a tavern surveillance camera shows a man punching, beating and throwing the 115-pound woman to the ground.
The video was broadcast repeatedly, embarrassing the city and prompting criticism of the police department because Abbate originally faced only a misdemeanor until the videotape became public.
Police announced in March that they were investigating allegations that someone may have tried to bribe or threaten the bartender after the beating.
The new indictment says that a woman acting as an intermediary for Abbate told a man _ identified by Obrycka's attorney, Terry Ekl, as the bar's manager _ that Abbate or other police officers would plant illegal drugs on bar employees or customers and arrest them if the videotape was turned over to anyone who could use it to make a case against Abbate. The woman said customers would be arrested for drunken driving, according to the indictment.
Ekl said the woman was another bartender and a friend of Abbate. Only Abbate has been charged.
Abbate appeared in court briefly Friday for a previously scheduled status hearing when prosecutors told the judge they had filed additional charges, taking Abbate's attorney, Peter Hickey, by surprise. Hickey had no immediate comment on the new charges, saying he hadn't had a chance to read them.
Abbate has been placed on leave and police have said they intend to fire him.