By James R. Scott, The Chicago Time
February 9, 2022
CHICAGO — Disgraced former Chicago Police officer Anthony Abbate will be denied a city pension after his conviction for attacking a Northwest Side bartender in 2007.
The state appeals court ruling on Monday overturns a Cook County judge’s ruling that Abbate was entitled to a pension since there was no connection to the beating and his job with the Chicago Police Department.
In 2007, an off-duty Abbate was caught on camera brutally kicking and punching Karolina Obrycka in a booze fueled rage. According to a three-judge panel, Abbate tried to use his status as a police officer to avoid arrest and punishment for the beating. Abbate would later be convicted of aggravated battery in 2009 and sentenced to probation. The Chicago Police Department also dismissed Abbate in response to his conduct and conviction. A federal jury awarded Obrycka $850,000 in damages from the city when it concluded that CPD officers associated with Abbate attempted to cover up the beating.
According to CPD, in 2018, Abbate filed paperwork with the pension board to collect his pension when he turned 50. In 2019, the pension board ruled that Abbate was disqualified from receiving benefits but would be allowed to withdraw his pension contributions made over the course of his 12-year career with the force.
In 2019, Cook County Judge Anna M. Loftus ruled in a lawsuit that the pension board did not establish a connection between Abbate’s crime and his status as a police officer.
However, Appeals Court Judge Aurelia Pucinski wrote “Looking at the totality of the evidence presented before the [pension] board, Abbate’s felony conviction for aggravated battery was related to or connected with his service as a policeman. While he was at the bar, he announced that he was a Chicago police officer and repeatedly displayed his ‘muscles’ to the other bar patrons. After these two physical assaults, no one called the police to report Abbate’s misconduct. When he was beating Obrycka, he announced that ‘nobody tells me what to do.’”
According to police reports, responding officers to the 2007 beating left the bar while the owner was downloading security video of the assault on Obrycka. Phone records show that Abbate called his partner 13 times shortly after Abbate fled the crime scene. Finally, according to testimony in a federal civil rights trail, a bartender friend of Abbate threatened Obrycka and the bar owner that Abbate would plant drugs on the bar staff if they did not surrender the security video to Abbate.
Abbate and his lawyers declined to make any comments regarding the decision.