A federal judge on Thursday threw out a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Nanci Koschman, the mother of 21-year-old David Koschman, who died from a single punch thrown by former Mayor Richard M. Daley's nephew, R.J. Vanecko, in 2004.
U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer said the complaint was filed too late and the statute of limitations ran out.
"I'm certainly disappointed," Koschman said, "but not for me - for David. His death and the investigation into that fateful night was handled so poorly. People were allowed to lie to the police, records were lost and then suddenly found, records were taken home, records were altered to create the illusion that it was David's fault and people hid behind their political connections. They treated my son with absolutely no dignity."
Attorneys for Koschman filed the civil rights lawsuit in Federal District court in March, saying officers of the Chicago Police Department fabricated evidence and covered up facts in order to protect “the entire Daley dynasty."
Defendants included Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, her predecessor Richard Devine, 21 former or current members of the Chicago Police Department and “Daley family members.”
"They say I took too long to file," Koschman said. "I was told I had no recourse due to how famous and wealthy the people where and how they'd keep me tied up in court for years. I had no financial resources to take on people with power. I spent each day trying to figure out how to get thru that day and the next without my only son. I waited until some good people came to help me but I guess it was too late."
Vanecko pleaded guilty earlier this year to a single count of involuntary manslaughter, only after being charged by Special Prosecutor Dan Webb.
Koschman’s attorneys said the initial 2004 investigation began and ended in a matter of hours, once it became clear Vanecko was involved.
“Higher-ups in the police department were saying, “holy crap, the mayor’s nephew may be involved,” Bowman said.
“From the moment that CPD commanders learned of Vanecko’s involvement” the lawsuit contends, “the Chicago Police Department’s handling of the case, as well as that of other agencies…became an official cover-up.”
According to the lawsuit, video from cameras along Division Street, where the punch was thrown, went unchecked. Detectives “set out fabricating evidence” to make David Koschman appear to be the aggressor, the suit alleges, and police and prosecutors destroyed and altered evidence in “sham investigations” in 2004 and in a 2011 reinvestigation.
“There should be something done so that another person who gets hit somebody famous doesn’t have to suffer like I’ve had to suffer,” Nanci Koschman said.