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David Griffith

David Griffith

David Griffith has been editor of POLICE Magazine since December 2001. He brings more than 25 years of experience on magazines and newspapers to POLICE. A Maggie award-winning journalist, his byline has appeared on hundreds of articles in POLICE and other national magazines.



Melanie Basich

Melanie Basich

Managing Editor Melanie Basich joined POLICE Magazine in 2000 (when her last name was still Hamilton). An award-winning journalist, she has covered such topics as agency budgets, officer suicide, emerging law enforcement technologies, and active shooter tactics. She writes and manages the product section of POLICE.
Editor's Notes

Drunk is No Excuse for This

June 05, 2009  |  by - Also by this author

Two years ago a surveillance camera in a Chicago bar. captured one of the most disgusting videos I have ever seen. It's disgusting because of what happens in the video and because of the dishonor it inflicts on all law enforcement officers. Hell, it dishonors humanity.

You know this video. You've seen it before. It shows a 12-year veteran Chicago cop-who was off duty at the time-beating the mess out of a young female bartender.

Here's the tale of the tape: Anthony Abbate, 38, is six-foot, three-inches tall and weighs 250 pounds. The woman he pummeled, Karolina Obrycka, 26, is a foot shorter and weighs 125 pounds.

In the video, Obrycka tries to cut off the alcohol flow to a drunken Abbate. Then Abbate decides to go behind the bar probably to pour his own drinks. Words are exchanged between the two and the bartender tries to shove Abbate out from behind the bar.

What happens next is nothing short of Cro-Magnon behavior by Abbate. He slams Obrycka to the floor and proceeds to punch and kick her. Finally she breaks away and some men get between her and Abbate who, from my observation of the video, is pretty much stumbling drunk.

But being drunk is no excuse for this kind of vicious attack. That's my point of view on this incident, and it was largely the prosecutor's as well.

"It's one of the most brutal and savage attacks that I have seen caught on tape," said prosecutor David Navarro when he announced that Abbate was being charged with aggravated battery.

Obrycka, who emigrated from Poland four years ago and has a 16-month-old boy here, suffered bruises to her head, neck, back, and lower body in the attack.

Abbate waived his right to a jury trial. (Good move, they might have brought a rope.) And he tried to convince the presiding judge that he felt threatened by the shoves from the diminutive female bartender and reacted to end the threat.

During testimony Tuesday, Abbate acknowledged he was drunk during the incident, but said the now 26-year-old bartender pushed him first as she tried to remove him from behind the bar. Abbate said he "didn't want to receive another injury, I threw her to the ground to get her off of me."

Fleming didn't buy the "threatened by the little woman" argument and he found Abbate guilty. Abbate now faces sentencing later this month and could receive as much as five years or he could just get probation. He has also been suspended pending separation from the Chicago Police Department.

In some ways, Abbate got off easy. At one point he was facing 15 charges, including official misconduct, intimidation, conspiracy, and communicating with a witness. (Immediately after the incident, some of Abbate's friends went back in the bar and tried to pay off the victim.) Judge Fleming dropped all but the battery charge.

Which means Abbate gets to keep his pension because he wasn't convicted of a criminal act under the color of authority. OK. I can go along with that. He worked 12 years on the force, and he didn't beat Obrycka while acting as a cop, so let him keep his pension.

But I hope the judge gives him every minute of five years. There's no excuse for what he did. There wouldn't be if he was a civilian. And in this case, he's not a cop facing crucifixion for protecting himself on the job. He's just a mean drunk who mercilessly beat a young woman for cutting off his bender.

No man should be wrist-slapped for that. And being drunk is no excuse.

But what say you? You are the men and women of law, and you are the judge and jury for this fellow officer. Would you give him five years for pummeling this woman half his size?

Tags: Off-Duty Incidents, Officer Misconduct


Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

carrier50 @ 6/5/2009 8:24 PM

Good article Dave, I'm a Vietnam Veteran with 31 yrs federal service, and now work for Pa. as a State Park Ranger. That was one tough video to watch. This guy should get 5 for the assault, and 5 more for tarnishing the badge of every hard working LEO.

mtarte @ 6/5/2009 10:31 PM

Five years isn't enough for this POS. I don't care how stressed, drunk or otherwise was feeling bad about his life, this is no excuse, especially from a cop. He made it more difficult for every other Chicago cop and instead of manning up and taking his lumps in court, he has the audacity to claim she was the aggressor? 10 years minimum on the yard for this punk.

kball751 @ 6/6/2009 8:02 AM

I don't care about the size of him or her. The beginning of the article reads "it dishonors humanity." To me after all that America has been through anyway since the 9/11 attack, we as a society should not stand for this kind of action from anyone, cop or not. Tell me that if you were at this bar and saw a MAN beating a WOMEN you would not intervene and kick his A**???? Now to the question of five years. My thought is that he needs that time to learn his lesson, all five no early release. I know some bartenders and they put up with a lot from both sexes. NO EXCUESS, DO THE TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!

henchman222 @ 6/8/2009 6:17 AM

I agree he needs the time and then some for badge tarnishing. I also beleive his buddies who attempted to bribe the victim/witness also need some slapping. This point seems like it is almost missed.

dbrewer97 @ 6/9/2009 10:27 PM

I don't think he should have had the other charges dropped. If he had a call at that bar for someone doing the same thing that he had done, he would have arrested them. As for the assault, he should get the full five. He is no better that someone he would arrest for the same offense. Come on, twice her size? Does he feel better about himself?

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