Is Cook County States Attorney Anita Alvarez’ call for a new investigation into the Chicago Police Department’s handling of David Koschman’s homicide, at the alleged hand of Richard “RJ’ Vanecko, disingenuous? Well, if anything, it is getting uglier and uglier and the perception that a cover-up by both, the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, is not going away. According to an article by Tim Novak and Carole Marin of the Chicago Sun-Times, Anita Alvarez has forwarded a letter to the Interim Director of the Illinois State Police asking that his agency “independently investigate” the CPD handling of the homicide case based on new information she has received. But, the Interim Director, Patrick Keen, will soon be replaced by Alvarez’ current deputy chief of investigations and 27 year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, Hiram Grau. So wouldn’t it really be Grau who would be conducting the investigation? Hmm, I get a feeling that Alavrez already knew that and in my opinion it appears that this is another attempt to “shuttle and scuttle” the case.
If you read the previous accounts of this homicide, you already know that the Chicago Police Department had moved the original homicide investigation from the Area 5 Detective headquarters to Area 3. After their investigation concluded that Mayor Daley’s nephew, “RJ” Vanecko had acted in self-defense, the felony review files were conveniently “lost by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.” At that time, longtime Mayor Daley friend, Richard Devine ran the office and Anita Alvarez was his chief of staff.
According to the Sun-Times article, the following letter was forwarded to Patrick Keen by Anita Alvarez: “According to new information brought to my attention, some witnesses now suggest that the versions of events attributed to them in CPD reports from 2004 were not accurate, including one witness who now claims that his observations during one of the lineups conducted were not accurately memorialized in police reports,” Alvarez wrote. “To be clear, at this point, I have no objective evidence to support the notion that there was any misfeasance or malfeasance on the part of investigators in this case. However, with this new information, it is my belief that an independent investigation from a separate police agency is clearly warranted to ensure that we reach the truth in this case.”
I certainly agree with Anita Alvarez that there should be an “independent investigation,” but, I do not think that the Illinois State Police should be the one handling it. It is all just too convenient when, a soon-to-be former member, of the same Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office could be involved. That just smacks of more clout getting in the way of this case. After you add up all the previous improprieties, there just can’t be anyone from within the “circle of political clout” involved. I have nothing against Hiram Grau, but you must consider the fact that he currently works for Anita Alvarez. That immediately raises the specter of a conflict of interest.
No, U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald must handle this case and convene a Grand Jury to determine if there is enough evidence to suggest that a conspiracy has taken place. And if that is the case, then he needs to seek federal indictments against all those involved.
As I see it, Alvarez had no choice but to seek a new investigation. David Koschman’s friend, Scott Allen was not only an eyewitness, but he also claims that he picked “RJ” Vanecko out of a police lineup. The fact that this case was closed, even though police knew who threw the punch and was later identified raises some serious issues. When we factor in that the felony review file disappeared shortly there after, tells me that someone “other than” the police had to be involved in suppressing this case.
Richard Kling, Anita Alvarez’ former law professor has stated that felony review files just don’t disappear and that he would have filed murder or involuntary murder charges seven years ago!
Another prominent attorney, G. Flint Taylor also weighed-in and said:
“It seems to me there’s a real possibility of a massive police cover-up here,” said Taylor. “If this person were a normal citizen, particularly an African-American person and not the nephew of the mayor of Chicago, he would have been indicted on a variety of charges – if not murder, involuntary manslaughter.”
“Maybe there needs to be a special prosecutor,” Taylor said. U.S. Attorney “Patrick Fitzgerald’s office should look into this.”
So – let’s see if it all adds up? First we have the Chicago Police Department perform a “highly suspicious” investigation, then we have an eye witness claim that an identification was made during a lineup and then we have the Cook County States Attorney’s Office “lose the felony review files.” Add in other facts like the conflicting statements made by Vanecko’s drinking friends telling a cop that they didn’t know the men who ran away, even though they all spent the night drinking together and yet another witness who first claimed he didn’t know “RJ” Vanecko, but then it turned out that they had attended school together.
Yea, I can see the red flags rising up all over the place.
If there were ever the appearance of a cover-up, then this case would have to be the gold standard given the chain of events.
Yes, this really does need to be re-investigated –
but not by an agency within the reach of our infamous clout!