Beaten bartender, City of Chicago ask court to throw out verdict - FOX 32 News Chicago

Judge delays decision on vacating `code of silence` verdict

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A judge has delayed her ruling on whether to throw out the judgment -in the "code of silence" case. Both sides are asking for the court to intervene. It couldn't be used for future suits against the city.

Two law professors stepped in and asked the judge to take time to consider the public before decide willing to vacate the judgment in this case, which was resolved last week.

Five years after a security camera captured the beating at Chicago bar - after the victim won the case against the city - both sides have joined to ask the court to throw out the verdict.

There is an advantage to the victim: The city would pay her damages right away.

A jury awarded Karolina Obrycka $850,000 in damages after a trial last month, for the 2007 beating she took from former Chicago Police officer Anthony Abbate.

Now both sides are appealing to the court to erase the jury's finding that a department "code of silence" existed that led the officer to believe his actions would not have consequences.

The city said it reached out to Obrycka with the deal that she could quickly collect her money without risking the chance of having the award reduced by the appeals process. It would also protect the city and taxpayers from future payouts.

Mayor Emanuel said this action would close the chapter on something that happened before he was mayor. Two law professors said it's outrageous that the city would try to buy its way out of the verdict and they filed a motion to stop the city.

"I think in its simplest form – we agreed that this became a no-brainer for us," Obrycka's attorney Terry Ekl said. "What we received out of this agreement with the city was no risk that the judgment could be reduced either by the trial court or on appeal, which was a possibility. No risk on appeal that the case, resolved against us.

"We felt the judge entered absolutely correct rulings throughout the case. She is a wonderful judge," Ekl continued. "But, it would ultimately be sustained on appeal, affirmed. But, that risk always is present."

"What we're seeing in court this morning is a really shameful exercise," Northwestern law professor Locke Brown said. "The city of Chicago stands up before the judge and says, please, let's get rid of this judgment because it is going to aggravate us in future cases and we really don't need to be troubled by it."

Professor Bowman also said that judgment is important because it sends the city a message that police misconduct must be handled differently.

The judge said she would render a decision in about 10 days.

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