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Entries in Bartender (2)

Thursday
Feb282013

Ohio Bartender Fired After Calling Police on Drunken Driver

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SHELBY, Ohio) -- A bartender in Shelby, Ohio, claims she was fired over what local police say was the right thing to do.

Twyla DeVito had been a bartender at the American Legion Post in Shelby for almost a year when she called and reported to police that a regular bar patron and a board member of the American Legion had gotten into his car after appearing drunk and drove away.

“There was no cab, I couldn’t give him a ride home and I was working,” she said.

So she called police, who found the patron driving with a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit, according to Shelby Police Chief Charles Roub.

The patron was issued a citation for operating a vehicle under the influence, according to a police report.

Two days later, DeVito received a call from her commander telling her she was fired.

“He called me and said that I was bad for business,” she said. “[He said], ‘This is nothing personal, this is all business, but I am going to have to fire you.’”

“My commander said I didn’t follow protocol, but there was no protocol,” she added.

An attempt to reach the American Legion Post in Shelby, Ohio, for comment by telephone was unsuccessful.

According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, there is not a law that requires a bartender to report a drunk driver.

“I support what she did,” said Roub. “We encourage people to report crimes, we encourage people to report drunk driving and, as a police officer, that helps me do my job.”

DeVito said she does not regret calling police.

“If he had gotten in a wreck that would have been on me, because I was on my shift,” said DeVito. “It was in a lose-lose situation. I choose to possibly save a life.”

“I just want people to understand [that] bartenders are in a catch [22],” DeVito said. “I can cut you off but you are still getting in your car and you’re still drunk. The whole point is being missed. You are still in a car drunk and driving.”

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov142012

Chicago Police Guilty of Covering Up Bartender Beating

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- The Chicago Police Department has been found guilty of covering up the beating of a female bartender by a city police officer, and was criticized for honoring a "code of silence" in which officers cover up for one another's misdeeds.

Bartender Karina Obrycka was awarded $850,000 by a federal jury on Tuesday.

Obrycka sued the police department and former police officer Anthony Abbate for a 2007 incident in which Abbate jumped behind her bar at Jesse's Shortstop Inn and, when reprimanded by Obrycka, assaulted her.

The altercation was caught on surveillance tape, but Chicago police officers ignored the tape's existence and failed to mention in their police report that the assailant was a city cop. Obrycka's attorney presented evidence, including hundreds of phone calls between Abbate and other cops in the hours after the incident, that convinced the jury there was a widespread effort to cover up the attack.

Abbate was eventually charged and found guilty of felony battery and lost his job. On Tuesday, however, a federal jury went farther, condemning the entire police department as well as Abbate for covering up the crime.

The jury awarded Obrycka $850,000, validating the bartender's claims that Abbate conspired with other cops after the assault, and that higher-ups at the department tried to keep the case quiet, according to ABC News affiliate WLS.

The city of Chicago said in a statement after the verdict that it "respectfully disagrees" and intends to appeal the decision.

Obrycka's attorney, Terry Ekl, said that the Chicago Police Department must make changes to how it operates now that the code of silence has been recognized by a court of law. He put the onus on the mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel.

"The question now becomes, 'What are they going to do about it?'" he said. "If there's going to be changed, it has to come from the mayor's office."

Craig Futterman, a law professor at the University of Chicago who has studied the code of silence in Chicago, agreed.

"The bulk of the Chicago Police Department isn't made up of officers who go around beating up bar maids and pummeling them gratuitously for no reason or in drunken rage. It's not what the vast majority of officers do," he said.

"Still, it's something that departments as a whole and police leadership tends to shy away from. I think the best police leaders try to take it head on, and they do have those conversations about what needs to be done, but they need to have support not just in the police department, but from the mayor, too. When you're dealing with an entrenched culture, the rank and file can just wait out that person," Futterman said.

Emanuel's office released a statement saying that he believes Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy will end the code of silence.

"The mayor is confident that Superintendent McCarthy and his leadership team have not, and would not, approve of, let alone participate in, a code of silence. And to the extent there are members of the department who have a different view, the Mayor is confident that McCarthy and his team will deal with that," the mayor's office said.

McCarthy also released a statement saying he would not tolerate a code of silence in the department.

"The Chicago Police Department does not tolerate misconduct by our members and vigorously investigates all instances that are brought to our attention or discovered internally," the statement read. "Furthermore, I will never tolerate a code of silence in a department for which I am responsible."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio