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Chicago Police Bosses Targeted Cops Who Exposed Corruption

By: 
Jamie Kalven

n autumn of 2012, the code of silence was very much in the news in Chicago. The trial of the civil suit brought against the city by Karolina Obrycka, the bartender struck and kicked by off-duty Officer Anthony Abbate in 2007, was unfolding before a jury in the federal courtroom of Judge Amy St. Eve.

One of Obrycka’s central claims was that Abbate assaulted her, secure in the knowledge he would be protected by the code of silence within the Chicago Police Department. In support of this claim, her lawyers presented expert testimony to demonstrate the department’s failure to adequately investigate and discipline police misconduct. On November 13, 2012, the jury returned a verdict in Obrycka’s favor. It awarded her $850,000 in damages and found that a pervasive code of silence within the CPD had allowed Abbate to attack her without fear of punishment.