Judge Upholds Police "Code of Silence" Ruling

City attempted to have verdict vacated

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Chicago Sun-Times
    Anthony Abbate was fired from the Chicago Police Department.

    U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve decided Thursday decided not to toss out part of a jury's decision that found Chicago police operated under a "code of silence," according to the Chicago Tribune.

    Last month, a jury found the police department obstructed the investigation into the beating death of bartender Karolina Obrycka at the hands of off-duty police officer Anthony Abbate in 2007.

    City attorneys were attempting to have the ruling vacated, and in return would agree to immediately pay Obrycka the $850,000 the jury awarded.

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    Obrycka's lawyers were on board with the city in their attempts to vacate the ruling so that she could receive the money immediately, instead of going through a potentially lengthy appeals process.

    City attorney Scott Jebson had argued that if the verdict remained, many frivolous lawsuits claiming police cover-ups could be filed using the same argument. Tossing the code-of-silence ruling would "save taxpayers a significant amount of money defending these countless claims," he said.

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    Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the city has asked a federal judge to overturn the jury verdict in the Anthony Abbate beating trial so other plaintiff's against the police department won't be able to invoke the same "code of silence" defense.

    Jebson also suggested the judgment was not needed, saying the Chicago Police Department has made great strides to improve the way it investigates allegations of police misconduct since the Abbate incident.

    But attorneys for outside groups pushing to keep the verdict disputed Jepson's claim that the city isn't trying to "silence the jury," arguing that a code of silence among police "is alive and well and needs to be changed."