A drunk, off-duty cop, Anthony Abbate, beat up a petite lady bartender, Karolina Obrycka in 2007. The video below went viral at the time. The case is now back in the news because the civil lawsuit is now underway in Chicago. The Chicago Tribune has the sordid details here. Apparently, the key issue in the civil trial is whether the department engaged in misconduct in response to Abbate’s criminal attack. In other words, did certain officers falsify reports, intimidate witnesses, and so forth.
One must consider what would have happened in the case if there was no videotape. Before the tape was released, Abbate was charged with a misdemeanor. After the tape surfaced, he was charged with a felony. Even with the taped beating as evidence, and even after his criminal conviction, a judge ordered 2 years probation. No jail time at all for Abbate.