The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

David Koschman's Mother Files Lawsuit Against Police, Prosecutors

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 24, 2014 9:15PM

Nanci Koschman, the mother of David Koschman, filed a federal lawsuit claiming police officers and prosecutors involved in the original 2004 investigation into her son’s death and a 2011 re-investigation violated her son’s civil rights by suppressing evidence that would have linked a nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley to David Koschman’s death and fabricated other evidence to make it appear that her son instigated the incident that lead to his death.

Nanci Koschman told NBC 5’s Carol Marin she decided to file the lawsuit after reading the 162-page report written by special prosecutor Dan Webb, which was released to the public after Richard “R.J.” Vanecko pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Koschman’s death in January. Vanecko was sentenced by McHenry County Judge Maureen P. McIntyre to 60 days in McHenry County jail, 60 days of electronically monitored home confinement, 30 months of probation, ordered to pay Nanci Koschman $20,000 in restitution and offer her a public apology. Webb said no officers involved with the investigations could be brought up on charges because the statute of limitations had expired, but he did turn over the report and evidence to the FBI for use in their investigations into the Police Department.

The lawsuit draws heavily from Webb’s report and lists the City of Chicago, Cook County, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and her former boss Richard Devine, two former police superintendents, several police officers connected to the investigation and three unnamed members of the Daley clan. Nanci Koschman had previously said she only wanted to find out the circumstances behind her son’s death but Webb’s report led to more questions. The Sun-Times has a partial transcript of the interview with Koschman,

Q: Why have you decided to sue?

A: I just sort of feel like I need to make sure that for future Davids that come along that maybe my small voice can be heard to say “I have to take this on” because I just can’t let them get away with this again.

Q: When you say David’s rights weren’t taken into consideration, are you speaking of the police department, the state’s attorney’s office?

A: Both. They put words in David’s mouth. They told me right from the beginning that I really had no recourse. That there was nothing I could have done. David was at fault. David was the one that would have been charged had he lived. It was all on David’s shoulders, so, being a grieving mother, I just went home and tried to deal with trying to figure out what I did wrong as a parent.

And then when the special prosecutor’s report came out . . . I realized I needed to take a stand for David. They hid files. They destroyed files. They changed files. And the thing that really got me is when they took the case and put words in his mouth saying that Mr. Vanecko felt it was self-defense because David was the aggressor. And I still have a hard time in my mind trying to visualize a 6-foot-3, 230-pound man being afraid of my 5-foot-5, 125-pound son.

Q: Why do think the investigations were botched?

A: They were too busy protecting Mr. Vanecko and maybe, as a result, the Daley family. . . . It’s always been about the cover-up.

Koschman has choice words for Detective Ronald Yawger, whom she called a bully, and Alvarez, who insisted a special prosecutor was not necessary throughout the reinvestigation and its aftermath. Koschman called Alvarez “not very professional. There are probably some other words I could think of.”

Koschman said she would take any settlement from a lawsuit and establish a scholarship fund.