03/22/2007

Chicago off-duty officer accused of beating up female bartender

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CHICAGO - An off-duty police officer in street clothes was caught on video by a bar surveillance camera beating up a female bartender half his size after she cut off his drinks, authorities said.

Anthony Abbate, a 12-year veteran of the Chicago force, was charged with aggravated battery and placed on leave pending an internal investigation in the attack Feb. 19 as several bystanders watched, department spokeswoman Monique Bond said Wednesday.

The video from Jessie's Short Stop Inn Tavern, shown on television around the nation, shows the 250-pound Abbate shouting at the 115-pound bartender, then walking behind the bar and punching, kicking and throwing her to the ground.

The woman suffered bruises to her head, neck, back and lower body. Her attorney, Terry Ekl, did not immediately return a call Wednesday. He told WFLD-TV that the attack began after the bartender refused to serve Abbate.

Abbate, 38, was arrested Tuesday night at his home. Bond said authorities were notified of the incident on Feb. 21 but were unable to locate Abbate until mid-March.

He was held on $70,000 bond Wednesday. Abbate's lawyer, William Fahey, did not immediately return a call for comment.

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