Mt. Vernon Register-News

September 19, 2013

No charges against police over Daley nephew probe

Associated Press


No charges will be filed against police or prosecutors who handled investigations into the 2004 death of a man killed in a fight with a nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, a special prosecutor announced Thursday.

In a statement, Dan Webb, a former U.S. attorney and one of the most prominent defense attorneys in the city, said it was impossible to seek charges related to the original investigation because the 3-year-statute of limitations had run out. The statement did not include any comment about whether Webb thought either prosecutors or police had broken the law.

Webb also said charges could not be filed against police of prosecutors over a new investigation of the case in 2011 and 2012. However, his comments suggested he was far more satisfied that the Cook County State's Attorney's Office did not break any laws than he was the Chicago Police Department didn't.

In his statement, he said there was "no evidence of any kind suggesting any violations of Illinois criminal law" by the state's attorney's office. Of the police department, he said that "there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any violations of Illinois criminal law" by the police force.

Daley's nephew, Richard Vanecko, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of David Koschman, who died days after he fell and struck his head during a fight with Vanecko outside a bar in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood. Vanecko has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

In his statement, Webb said he has requested that the details of his 162-page report remain under seal, explaining that releasing them could damage Vanecko's ability to receive a fair trial.

Vanecko was indicted in December by a special grand jury and pleaded not guilty. The case has generated considerable media attention, in large part because of his relationship to Daley, the city's longest-serving mayor who left office in 2011. Koschman's family contends there was a cover up by police.

In fact, the judge who appointed Webb as the special prosecutor concluded there was evidence to support allegations of police misconduct in the initial investigation, including ignoring or falsely recording witness statements and labeling the victim as the aggressor.