Chicago NOW attended today’s long overdue police review board trial of Anthony Abbate. The entire proceeding lasted from approximately 10:45am to 3pm. I was able to see Anthony, Karolina and several other key witnesses and we learned some new and interesting details.
The transcript and video of the trial will now be turned over to the board, who will review the trial and make a decision when they meet in December. Hopefully there will not be a delay due to the holidays.
The first person to take the stand was Anthony Abbate. He’s just as large and red-faced in person as he seems on TV. He invoked his 5th amendment right and refused to answer any questions. One can only assume that his reluctance to answer questions is due to the fact that he is appealing his conviction. During the questioning, the prosecution showed various video clips from the day of the assault beginning at 4pm, when Abbate originally came to the bar, and ending around 8:30 or 9pm when he fled after the beating.
The video is much longer than anything that has been released in the news. It chronicles the entire day beginning with Anthony entering the bar early in the evening and immediately attacking his friend Mike. Apparently Mike had insulted Anthony’s dog earlier that day, so Abbate came into the bar to both verbally and physically assault Mike. The bartender on duty at the time, Peggy, tells Abbate to leave after the altercation.
Around 2 hours later Abbate returns to the bar and appears to be intoxicated. It’s not clear if he was already drunk earlier in the day. He’s shown drinking a high ball, some beer and then taking shots. He spends most of the night singing off key to the Eagle’s greatest hits and harassing his friend Jimmy by punching him, putting him in a headlock and repeatedly taking his hat… yeah, taking his hat away. As the woman next to me remarked, this is not my kind of fun. After a while, Jimmy goes to the other side of the bar to avoid Abbate’s obnoxious behavior.
Apparently this was the first time that Karolina and Abbate had met at the bar although he was a regular patron. As one can assume, Abbate tries desperately to win the attention of Karolina by calling her pet names and paying her empty compliments. As he drinks, he starts playing a game where he flexes his muscles and announces that he’s Chicago Police… it’s really gross. He continues to “flex” and tries to tempt Karolina to touch his body, but she’s really not interested in playing along and attempts to ignore his requests.
Abbate makes two attempts to come behind the bar; the second attempt results in the brutal beating of Karolina. What shocked me even more is that we now know that the patrons in the bar were all acquainted and none of them attempted to do anything to intervene with the beating outside of telling Abbate that he should stop.
Most of the witnesses, including the victim of the first assault and the other bar tender, pled the 5th and refused to answer questions. However, we did get to hear belligerent arguments and accusations from Mike, Abbate’s friend and victim. He was really the least pleasant person I have ever encountered and I get the feeling that he’s hiding something. Mike began with his outrage over the lack of bottled water and ended by accusing the prosecutor of plotting against him and ruining his pheasant hunting trip.
The most interesting details learned during the trial:
- Abbate allegedly sent a friend to try to pay off Karolina before she filed charges.
- Abbate threatened to harass patrons and intentionally give out DUI’s to exiting patrons when he learned that the bar owner intended to release the security tape.
- Abbate knew he was being taped while the beating occurred. His friend Jimmy told him he was on camera just before delivering the first punch to Karolina.
- Abbate allegedly threatened to plant cocaine on the other bartender, Peggy, who came to Karolina’s defense.
The prosecution delivered closing arguments and now we will wait for the Police Review Board to review the tapes and make a decision. The Board only meets once a month, so we will likely hear back from them in December or January.
CNOW will keep you posted as more details develop…