An off-duty Chicago police officer convicted of pummeling a female bartender half his size was sentenced Tuesday to two years probation and anger management classes for the videotaped attack that appeared worldwide on the Internet and cable news channels.
Cook County Circuit Judge John Fleming sentenced Anthony Abbate in a downtown courtroom Tuesday, imposing a home curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. and ordering Abbate to perform 130 hours of community service.
Quoting a line from one of his favorite movies, "Animal House," Fleming admonished the defendant.
"Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son," he said.
Abbate originally faced several charges, including intimidation, conspiracy and communicating with a witness and official misconduct. But prosecutors dismissed most of them before the trial began.
Fleming dismissed two other counts of official misconduct.
The bartender seen getting pummeled by the former officer, Karolina Obrycka, was soft-spoken in court. Half the size of Abbate, she said she was mostly disappointed over the fact that she never got an apology for the incident.
Abbate's attorney portrayed the events seen in the video in a very different way, saying that his client acted in self-defense.
"Look at the video. He did not attack her," said defense attorney Peter Hickey. "He reacted to her banging his head against the wall."
Prosecutors had asked for a prison term of up to five years. But Fleming said he didn't see any aggravating factors to justify that.
"If I believed sentencing Anthony Abbate to prison would stop people from getting drunk and hitting people, I'd give him the maximum sentence," Fleming said.
Earlier this month Fleming found Abbate guilty of aggravated battery for the February 2007 attack.
"No one in recent memory has done more to tarnish the reputation of the Chicago Police Department than Anthony Abbate," Cook County Assistant State's Attorney LuAnn Snow said Tuesday.
Indeed, even Supt. Jody Weis reacted strongly to the sentence.
"If I were a citizen, I'd be outraged, but we have to live with the judge's decision," Weis said.
Abbate is still an employee of the Police Department, although he has been relieved of his duties since shortly after the beating.
Obrycka's civil attorney said he believes that Abatte's status with the force afforded him preferential treatment.
"It's gotta come right from the top, whether it comes from Jody Weis or if it comes from Ritchie Daley, someone has got to say, 'Enough is enough with the toleration of misconduct by other officers,'" Terry Ekl said.
The Police Department wants to have Abatte fired, but his case won't go before the Police Board until July 7, the Tribune reported. But as a convicted felon, he won't be able to serve as a police officer again.