America’s Next Cop Model

Anthony Abbate–drunk with power. Just plain drunk.

I tried to watch the video footage of the Chicago cop wailing on a 115-pound bartender, but I couldn’t get past the first few seconds. From the beating through the alleged hush money offered to the victim, this is classic Chicago corruption.

But what of the man with the cell phone at the bar who didn’t jump in to try and help the bartender? Should he have jumped in? In theory, sure. However, most people don’t have the “interference gene” that takes them from “observer” to “hero.” In fact, most people when confronted with criminal behavior often act in absolute denial. Self-preservation tends to be a strong motivator.

I witnessed a drive-by last year. It was truly the most frightening thing I’ve ever seen. Other bystanders laughed it off–”It’s probably a toy gun;” “I’m sure someone else called the cops.” It wasn’t a toy gun, and that not-toy gun was fired into a public park where children were playing. People just can’t be bothered. Everyone hopes that whatever crisis intersects with their lives will pass quickly.

I’m not at all surprised by the cell phone guy. It’s perhaps unfair to make him a “bad guy” in a story that already has such an obvious antagonist. And honestly, I’m not convinced I’d have jumped in front of a 200+ pound drunken cop either.

Abbate went into a substance abuse program after the incident. I hope he got the help he needs. The Chicago Police Department doesn’t have the benefit of a month’s cleansing–the blemish from this incident will haunt their perceptual image for a while.

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