On February 19, 2007 off-duty Chicago police officer Anthony Abbate got into some sort of altercation with another patron at Jessie's Short Stop Inn tavern. When bartender Karolina Obrycka tried to stop Abbate from attacking the other person with a chair, he turned his anger on her. The 38 year old, 250 pound Abbate punched, kicked and threw the 115 pound Obrycka to the ground. Everything was caught on a security video camera in the bar. The 12 year veteran of the Chicago Police Department was later fired.
During the misconduct trial this November, the jury found that a "code of silence" exists in the Chicago Police Department. It is that finding that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants erased. Obrycka was awarded $850,000 in the trial and could receive immediate compensation from the City after a hearing on the joint motion filed by her attorneys and lawyers for Emauel's administration. The City of Chicago also wants the ruling erased because it would help the city defend against other police miscounduct lawsuits.
Two law professors, Craig Futterman of the University of Chicago, and Locke Bowman of Northwestern University have filed a motion opposing Emanuel's attempt to erase the jury's finding of a silence code.
Suppressing the ruling would be tantamount to encouraging a closed system of government while supporting the code of silence and retaliation against whistle blowers. Attorney Michael Hupy of Hupy and Abraham addressed this very subject in his alumni blog for Marquette University Law School on September 4, 2012. Although the article focusses on lawyers and judges, the principles are the same. Read his article here.
A status hearing on the motion to vacate the judgment has been set for Friday, December 7, 2012 before U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve.