The Chicago Sun-Times printed a Watchdog Investigation, yesterday and today, regarding the 2004 death of David Koschman. After he died, the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office called the death a homicide, yet, no one has been charged to date. On April 25, 2004, Koschman and a group of his freshly-turned fellow 21-year-old friends decided to experience Rush Street to celebrate their coming of age. After calling it a night around 3AM, they crossed paths with a group of three men and a woman. According to his friends, David Koschman bumped into one of the men and the two then exchanged words. Both parties were drunk, but one of the three men ended the confrontation with a punch. The 21 year-old then fell backwards and hit the back of his head on the street. He died 12 days later of a severe brain injury. After the punch was thrown, that person and another of the three men ran away. One of those two men was Richard J. Vanecko, the mayors nephew.
As Koschman lay dying in his hospital bed, a detective called the room and told his mother that the son had been involved in an altercation. She would get back to her soon. But, that call NEVER came. Police and prosecutors, meanwhile, said they conducted an investigation and concluded Koschman was the aggressor and that whomever hit him, acted in self defense. Now comes word that contradicts that. The Sun-Times also reported that the Chicago Police Department said that Richard J. Vanecko received no special treatment.
The Sun-Times, however, has turned up multiple problems with the so-called investigation and how it was originally handled. First, detectives did not begin their investigation until after the young man died, which was 12 days later. Second, they did not conduct a lineup until a month after the event and by that time RJ Vanecko had changed his appearance. Third, the investigation had been moved from Area 5 to Area 3 Detective Headquarters. Last, but not least of all, prosecutors now say that their files have "disappeared."
Richard Kling, a law professor at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law said "They declined charges, but they can't find the file? I've been doing this for 39 years, literally thousands of cases. I've never seen a felony-review file missing. Ever. Never heard of one. There's certainly some red flags. Like not investigating the case earlier, a missing felony-review file, transferring the case from one area to another and not having lineups until a month later."
Nanci Kloschman, David's mother, recalled for todays newspaper article that R.J. Vanecko's name was mentioned on the nightly news on May 20, 2004 as being part of the group that had bumped into her son. Soon thereafter, other news outlets picked up the story because Vanecko had also been in legal trouble before. That trouble was his misdemeanor weapons charge, stemming from a 1992 brawl and under-age drinking party at Mayor Daley's Grand Beach, Michigan vacation home. By then, reporters had begun camping-out in front of her door, so she decided to leave for the weekend and get away.
Still, the newspaper stories continued and they also quoted police authorities as saying her son had been "pushed or punched" and that "no charges would be filed." Naturally Nanci Koschman was bewildered by that and then asked a family friend, who was a lawyer, to set up a meeting at Area 3 Headquarters.
During that meeting, a detective walked in with an attitude acting like he was doing her some sort of favor. He also tried to turn the whole thing around saying things like her son was drunk, he started it and "I don't want to say this - deserved what he got." The detective wouldn't identify any of the people involved, but, he did say "You'd be really impressed by the names of the people involved in this."
This detective doesn't sound like he is right for the job. Of course, it also wouldn't be the first time a Chicago cop pulled some shit like that out of their mouth either. Is it any wonder why many people don't trust them? Good old Western and Belmont. I had my own issues with them in the 70's involving the unwarranted arrest of my sick father and their beating the shit out of him there. Funny, when I reported it, the Police Commander and the Cook County States Attorney didn't want any part of it then either. So, I'll tell you what, I can see the cops covering up for an influential political family and I don't think that that is anything new in Chicago.
From what I have read, up until now, I don't believe that there was/is a snowball's chance in hell that there would have ever been a fair and comprehensive investigation. Of course, that is just my own opinion. I also have a legitimate right to that opinion given what happened to my father as well as an armed robbery that they did squat on. So, If this were to happen to my family, and I found out that one of the participants was that politically connected, I certainly would have requested an "external investigation" long ago.
In my mind, there is just no way that there could be a fair investigation given the level of Clout that Vanecko and his brother have enjoyed while his "unknowing" uncle has been at the helm. Haven't there been enough irregularities surrounding this kid already, first in Michigan and now we have allegations of a drunken incident where someone died? Let's not forget too that his brother has a history of questionable city business deals. Is it just me, or does it seem that Daley's nephews have taken advantage of their bloodlines?
Look, if Richard J. Vanecko is involved, in what the the medical examiner called a homicide, then shouldn't he be punished? Being connected and feeding from the public trough is one thing, but that is not an excuse to throw one's weight around, figuratively or literally. And whether R.J. Vanecko threw that punch or not, wouldn't he still be an accessory to a homicide, after the fact? I swear I have heard that charge tacked-on often enough at people of lesser financial means. I also happen to know there is no Statute of Limitations on homicides.
So what gives here?
Are we really to believe that a kid much smaller, and younger, than the group he bumped into really became an aggressor? There is not one person who knew David Koschman that would believe that scenario. Koschman, by all accounts, did not have such a demeanor.
Richard (RJ) Vanecko, on the other hand, does seem to have a little history.