Bar's Surveillance Cameras Lead to Charges on Chicago Police Officer

CHICAGO -- A Chicago police officer accused in the videotaped beating of a female bartender has been charged with trying to intimidate witnesses by threatening to plant drugs on bar employees and arrest customers for drunken driving, prosecutors said Friday.

Anthony Abbate, already charged with aggravated battery, faces an additional 14 felony counts, including seven of official misconduct, one of communicating with a witness, three counts of intimidation and three counts of conspiracy, Cook County State's Attorney's office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said.

Abbate, 38, is scheduled to be arraigned on the new charges on May 16.

The charges stem from the Feb. 19 beating at a tavern on the city's northwest side of bartender Karolina Obrycka, 24.

Video from a tavern surveillance camera shows a man who police said is the 250-pound Abbate punching, beating and throwing the 115-pound woman to the floor after she allegedly refuse to serve the off-duty officer more drinks. The videotape was released to the media and shown countless times around the world.

Police announced in March that they were investigating allegations that someone may have tried to bribe or threaten the bartender.

The indictment says a woman acting as an intermediary for Abbate threatened that officers would plant illegal drugs on bar employees or customers and arrest them if evidence was turned over to anyone who could use it to make a case against Abbate. The woman also allegedly said customers would be arrested for drunken driving, the indictment said.

No else has been charged in the investigation, Simonton said.

Abbate's attorney, Peter Hickey, said he was angry that he found out about the new charges from the media. His client was in court Friday for a previously scheduled status hearing when prosecutors told the judge they had filed a superseding indictment.

Abbate has been placed on leave and police have said they intend to fire him over the alleged beating, which embarrassed the city and police department. Police faced intense criticism because Abbate originally was charged with a misdemeanor, until the videotape became public.

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