When Police Supt. Phil Cline said he is "sickened and embarrassed" by the brutal beating of Karolina Obrycka, a bartender at a Northwest Side bar, I believe him. But when he says that Chicago police officer Anthony Abbate has "tarnished our image worse than anybody else in the History of the Department," I have a problem with that.
Young black men (and women) have been brutally beaten by out-of-control police officers in the past, and the incidents have been handled as if they were isolated cases.
But the mauling Obrycka took at the hands of an alleged drunken off-duty police officer will change the culture of the police department. Why? Because she's a white woman.
Don't get me wrong, Abbate, who was caught on videotape beating the female bartender after she refused to serve him another drink, is a horrible human being. But the dishonor of "worst" goes to Jon Burge, the former Cmdr. of Area 2 Police Headquarters. Dozens of suspects were tortured under his charge, and three former death row inmates have sued the city and could receive a $14.4 million settlement because of the department's culture of abuse.
Other worst cases: the four police officers indicted last year on corruption charges that included home invasion, kidnapping, and delivery of narcotics; crooked and abusive cops in Gresham; rogue cops in Austin.
Over the years, I've written about cops so abusive, one of them knocked a teenage girl's teeth out; another allegedly shot a family's dog just for the hell of it. In 2003, a home video showed Chicago police officers dragging four men from a van and kicking them in the Cabrini-Green neighborhood. Two officers, Joseph Groh and Vander Mey, were brought up on charges, and accused of "bringing discredit" upon the Police Department. The tape showed one officer throwing punches at one of the suspects while other officers held the man down.
But a jury found Vander Mey not guilty on all charges because the videotape was "too grainy" to positively identify the police officer.
When the verdict was read, police officers who were in the courtroom burst into loud applause.
Yet, unless the men caught on the videotape were fake police officers, a shameful crime was committed.
So I'm thankful that Karolina Obrycka is white. Like I've said in the past, when out-of-control cops start terrorizing white people, things are going to change.