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Chicago officer's lesser count tossed; felony charge stays

March 28, 2007|From the Associated Press

CHICAGO — Prosecutors dropped a misdemeanor count Tuesday against a police officer accused of beating a female bartender in an attack videotaped by a surveillance camera. He still faces a felony charge.

Anthony Abbate, a 12-year veteran, appeared before a judge briefly as prosecutors dropped a charge of battery.

The lesser count was filed after the 250-pound officer's arrest in the Feb. 19 beating of the 115-pound bartender, but prosecutors added the felony aggravated battery charge.

"We reviewed it, [and] we think this crime was a felony," said John Gorman, spokesman for the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.

If convicted, Abbate faces up to five years in prison, Gorman said.

An April 27 hearing was set on the felony charge.

The videotape shows Abbate, 38, who was off duty, punching, kicking and throwing 24-year-old bartender Karolina Obrycka to the floor after she reportedly refused to continue serving him drinks.

Obrycka suffered bruises to her head, neck, back and lower body, said Terry Ekl, her lawyer.

Abbate has been placed on leave, and his superiors have said they intend to fire him.

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