Jurors on Wednesday began deliberating a potentially landmark federal civil trial focused on whether Chicago police adhere to a code of silence protecting fellow officers accused of wrongdoing.
The jury withdrew to consider evidence in a case stemming from an off-duty officer's notorious 2007 beating of a bartender. A video of Anthony Abbate attacking Karolina Obrycka later went viral and became an embarrassment for the department.
Obrycka sued Abbate and the city for damages.
In their closing arguments, Obrycka's attorneys described Abbate as a "monster that the City of Chicago created." They say the department regularly under-investigates complaints against its own and they say that "leads to officers like Anthony Abbate thinking they can act with impunity."
But attorneys for the city told the jury that Abbate “just another drunk, acting stupid.” And that Chicago shouldn't be required to pay damages for his attack simply because it employed him."
City attorney Barrett Rubens characterized the conflicting witness accounts of the Abbate probe and incomplete police reports as evidence of “bureaucracy, not conspiracy.”
During their deliberations this afternoon, jurors asked to see transcripts of Obrycka's testimony. Judge Amy St. Eve denied the request saying she prefers not to give jurors transcripts of selected testimony.
Obrycka testified a week ago the beating was so violent that she feared she would never again see her son.
A week earlier, Abbate told the court he didn't remember the attack because he was drunk and told the court that he never implored officers to cover up the incident. He was convicted of aggravated battery in 2009 and sentenced to probation.
The police department later fired him.