Chicago police officer in court on beating case

/ Source: The Associated Press

Prosecutors dropped a misdemeanor count Tuesday against a police officer accused of beating a female bartender in an attack videotaped by a surveillance camera, leaving him still facing a felony charge.

Anthony Abbate, a 12-year police veteran, appeared before a judge for about 30 seconds as prosecutors dropped the charge of simple battery.

That count was filed after the 250-pound officer’s arrest in the Feb. 19 beating of a 115-pound bartender, but prosecutors later upgraded the charges to felony aggravated battery.

An April 27 hearing was scheduled on the felony charge.

If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison, Cook County state’s attorneys office spokesman Andy Conklin said.

The videotape shows Abbate, 38, who was off duty, punching, kicking and throwing 24-year-old bartender Karolina Obrycka to the floor after she allegedly refused to continue serving him drinks. Obrycka suffered bruises on her head, neck, back and lower body, said her attorney, Terry Ekl.

The state’s attorney’s office and police also are looking into claims that Abbate and at least one other person threatened Obrycka and the owner of the bar, police have said.

Abbate has been placed on leave and police have said they intend to fire him.