CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago bartender believed to have been beaten by an off-duty police officer in an attack caught on video sued the officer and the city Monday.
The federal civil rights lawsuit claims that damages to the bartender, the bar's owner and a manager total at least $1 million, and it accuses police of systematically covering up officers' misbehavior for years.
Security cameras showed a large man punching and kicking 115-pound Karolina Obrycka at the bar Feb. 19. She is believed to have refused to serve the man more drinks.
Police identified the man as 250-pound Anthony Abbate, 38. He faces aggravated battery, intimidation, official misconduct and other felony charges.
Authorities say Abbate, through an intermediary, tried to intimidate witnesses by threatening to plant drugs on bar employees and arrest customers for drunken driving.
Obrycka, 24, said at a news conference Monday that she still fears retribution from police.
Obrycka's lawyer, Terry Ekl, said officers like Abbate feel that they are above the law because of ingrained policies, procedures and customs in the police department.
Jenny Hoyle, a spokeswoman for city law department, said officials had not seen the lawsuit and couldn't comment on it. A message left with Abbate's attorney, William Fahey, was not immediately returned.
Police Superintendent Phil Cline has said Abbate had "tarnished our image worse than anybody else" in the department's history, and he vowed to speed the process of removing officers accused of misconduct from the street.