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Koschman Case Gets Inspector General's Attention

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 30, 2011 4:00PM

David Koschman (image captured via NBC Chicago video)
It looks like thee David Koschman case is going to have something resembling a independent investigation after all. Inspector General Joe Ferguson requested documents from the Police Department regarding the Koschman case a full two weeks before the Illinois State Police agreed to Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez's request to investigate.

Koschman, if you'll remember, was killed in 2004 by injuries sustained from a punch delivered by Richard "R.J." Vanecko, a nephew of Mayor Daley. Witnesses to the altercation contradicted police statements that Koschman was the instigator in the incident. Even though the Cook County Medical Examiner ruled Koschman's death a homicide, no charges were ever filed against Vanecko because witnesses couldn't identify Vanecko from a lineup. A review of the original investigation conducted after the Sun-Times and NBC 5's Carol Marin started rooting around the story determined that Vanecko did throw the punch, but closed the case "exceptionally."

Alvarez originally said she would not seek charges against Vanecko, but announced the request to have the State Police look into the CPD's handling of the case after repeated editorials from the Sun-Times and Marin.

We've been skeptical about Alvarez's announcement because it was a response to the editorials, there was uncertainty about whether the State Police had the authority to do an independent investigation, and because of the news the previous day that Gov. Quinn appointed Hiram Grau, Alvarez's chief investigator, to head the State Police. Grau has since said he would recuse himself from the State Police's investigation once he starts his new job next month, but Ferguson's request for the documents related to the Koschman case gives us some hope that maybe we'll get some rhyme to the Police Department's reason in determining that Vanecko threw the punch, but hasn't been charged.