Saturday, April 07, 2012

The Death of David Koschman

On April 25, 2004 a 21 year old from Mount Prospect was in the Loop with a few friends getting shitfaced on Rush Street. By all accounts, David Koschman had an encounter with Richard "R.J." Vanecko outside of a bar at around 3AM.

Koschman, being a 21 year old suburban kid, shitfaced, was likely out of his comfort zone down there. Maybe he'd been there a few times, but he was no grizzled vet of the early hours outside The Lodge or Mother's. Been there, done that. The entire Division St., State St., Rush St., region is still alive at 3AM. They don't roll up the sidewalks at closing time. There are plenty of jacked up, liquored up & coked up revelers who are about halfway through their night at 3AM down in that zone.

So it's not what would you call a freak occurrence when a shitfaced 21 year old suburban guy, feeling a little Liquid Loop Courage decides he wants to show that he has big shoulders too. Been there, done that. Maybe it's the creepy glow from those energy saving streetlights; it makes you feel like you're in some sort of alternate night world. Or maybe it's the knowledge that you're wandering through the modern equivalent of a row of Old West saloons. It's all bars, hotels, restaurants, boutiques, ...but at 3AM, all the action is around the bars and out on the sidewalks.

By all accounts, during the encounter between David Koschman and Richard Vanecko, Koschman wound up being either pushed or punched by Vanecko, causing him to fall and hit his head on the sidewalk/curb/pavement.

Actually, that's by most accounts. Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez's office thinks that it's possible that Koschman was neither pushed nor punched, and perhaps somehow wound up slamming his head on the sidewalk/curb/pavement without any assistance.

Anyway, within hours of taking their first call about the punch-out on Rush St., the Chicago police stopped investigating the Koschman vs Vanecko bout.

They re-opened their investigation 11 days later, on May 6th, when David Koschman died of massive brain injury suffered when his head slammed the sidewalk on Rush.

They closed their investigation on May 20th, when friends of David Koschman were unable to pick David's assailant from a lineup.

David's mother, Nanci Koschman, spent the next 7 years trying to get the case re-opened, to no avail. Then she approached the Chicago Sun-Times, who last January asked the Chicago police if they could have a look at the files on Koschman's case.

Nanci Koschman has been saying for some time that there was a cover-up within the Chicago police and/or the Cook County State's Attorney's office. She thinks the cops and prosecutors have kept the files buried and the case closed in order to protect Richard R.J. Vanecko.

Why would they do that? may ask.

Some suppose that they might do that because Richard Vanecko is the nephew of Richard J. "Richie the Corrupt" Daley. Richie was Chicago's mayor on the night in question.

So when the Sun-Times began snooping in January of last year, the Chicago police re-opened the case and conducted their own review. Then-Police Superintendent Jody Weis turned the thing over to Detective James Gilger. Gilger completed his investigation and on March 1, announced that David Koschman died as a result of his being punched by Richard Vanecko, which caused him to fall backward and hit his head on the ground.

In the same announcement, Gilger said that Vanecko had acted in self-defense.

Oh and, by the way, David Koschman was 5'5"- 140 lbs, and Richard RJ Vanecko is 6'3" and 230.

And he's Richie Daley's nephew.

A few weeks later, on March 24, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said that she thinks an independent investigator should look into the Koschman case. ( Rahm Emanuel had taken over the big chair on the 5th Floor at 121 N. LaSalle a month earlier.) She wrote to the Illinois State police ""Some witnesses now suggest that the versions of events attributed to the in CPD (Chicago Police Department) reports from 2004 were not accurate."

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At the same time, Alvarez said that there was no conflict of interest within her office, that she had handled the case like she would any other, and that family ties had nothing to do with anything.

Which is funny because it's pure bullshit.

Family ties have everything to do with anything and anyone remotely related to the Daley family, and one of those people connected to Daley is Vanecko.

Another is Jody Weis. Daley appointed him to the Police Superintendent gig, and for his entire tenure, the rank and file cops hated Jody Weis. They considered him unfit for the job. Out of his league. One of Daley's lackeys. (**EDITED: Weis was not Chicago Police Superintendent back in 2004. Daley appointed him in 2008, and he served until last year.)

Another is Anita Alvarez. She's politically connected to Daley. They're buddies. Richie used to be the Cook County State's Attorney, as he was in 1986 when his office hired Anita Alvarez, and he's got connections up the ass in that office to this very day. Been there, done that too.

And, Alvarez still employs Darren O'Brien, the assistant state's attorney who decided 8 years ago that there was insufficient evidence to charge Richard Vanecko with a crime in the death of David Koschman.

In January of this year, Nanci Koschman asked Cook County Judge Michael Toomin to appoint a special prosecutor to the case.

Anita Alvarez immediately challenged that request, saying a special prosecutor isn't necessary, and in a 46 page filing to Toomin stated that she and City of Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson were partners in an ongoing investigation, that included "non-public proceedings which have not yet concluded."

Mrs. Koschman then asked Toomin to direct Alvarez's office to turn over transcripts of interviews Ferguson conducted within the last year, something Alvarez had refused to do up to that point. Toomin gave Alvarez's office until late February to either give him a reason why they shouldn't do that, or to turn over the transcripts.

Apparently Alvarez was too busy with other matters to cooperate with Mrs. Koschman, so on March 1, Toomin ordered Alvarez to turn over the Ferguson transcripts.

This past month, lawyers for Richard R.J. Vanecko entered the legal fray, filing their own motion to keep a special prosecutor from looking into the death of David Koschman or the subsequent investigation.

Well, hell is coming to breakfast for the Chicago police, Anita Alvarez, Richard Vanecko, perhaps Jody Weis, and maybe even Richie Daley himself.

Yesterday Judge Toomin approved the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the death of David Koschman, and the resulting investigation. He tore the Chicago police and the Cook County State's Attorney's Office a new asshole in accusing them both of creating a report "from whole cloth."

As I said to my friend Jack the Chicago lawyer in another discussion on the matter, these things don't start at the bottom. There's little or no chance that the cops on duty at 3AM on April 25, 2004 took it upon themselves to protect Richard R.J. Vanecko.

These sort of things start much higher up than that.