CPD chief takes stand in bartender beating civil case against Anthony Abbate

October 30, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Chief Debra Kirby was questioned Tuesday about when she first saw the 2007 videotaped beating of a female bartender by then Chicago Police Officer Anthony Abbate.

Kirby, who has been with the Chicago Police Department for 26 years, headed the department's NATO planning, and now runs the professional development bureau. In 2007, she was the head of internal affairs.

Kirby testified that she and others at headquarters first saw the videotaped beating of Karolina Obrycka two days after it occurred. Kirby said it was her opinion from the "get go" that Abbate should be charged with a felony.

However, Obrycka's attorney, Terry Ekl, suggested through aggressive questioning that Kirby was not telling the truth, and that in early phone calls to prosecutors Kirby characterized the Abbate incident as a bar fight and a simple battery. Under Kirby's command, investigators had Obrycka sign a misdemeanor criminal complaint against Abbate.

"Already, [police officials] had gone out and had Abbate charged with a misdemeanor without talking to anybody," Terry Ekl, Obrycka, attorney, said.

Kirby insisted there was never any soft-pedaling of the Abbate case, and that prosecutors would ultimately determine the charges.

However, Internal Affairs Sergeant Joe Stehlik seemed to contradict Kirby when he testified that after viewing the tape, he, Kirby and others initially saw it as a fight, which would be a simple battery.

Copyright © 2024 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.