Daley on cop sex assault allegations: Misconduct ‘unfortunately happens’
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporteremail@example.com April 1, 2011 2:24PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Police misconduct “unfortunately happens,” and “there could be one next week or the following week,” Mayor Daley said Friday in his first public comment on the explosive sexual assault allegations against two Chicago Police officers.
‘There could be one next week or the following week. This unfortunately happens, misconduct. And I think Supt. Hillard responded very strongly,” the mayor said, after returning from a 12-day trade mission to China.
Two Chicago Police officers have been stripped of their police powers while awaiting the outcome of a criminal investigation into allegations that they sexually assaulted a woman they had offered a late-night ride home — first in their marked police SUV and then at the woman’s North Side apartment.
That was one of three crime stories that dominated the headlines while Daley was in China.
The other involved the death of 68-year-old Sally Katona-King. She died after being pushed down the stairs at the Fullerton Avenue L station by a man fleeing the station after stealing another passenger’s iPhone.
Local aldermen have demanded to know why the Fullerton station still lacks surveillance cameras, despite Daley’s promise to install them at all CTA stations.
“They are putting cameras in. Unfortunately, there was an incident. Someone tried to grab someone’s [phone], and they were alerting people prior to that. The CTA did. They had a number of incidents where [thieves] were grabbing ... cell phones,” Daley said.
“Unfortunately, this innocent woman was pushed down the stairs. ... We’re putting cameras in as much as we can.”
There was one more crime-induced headline while the mayor was gone.
It’s the Sun-Times story that won’t quit about the 2004 death of a 21-year-old man who got into a Division Street altercation with a group that included the mayor’s nephew.
Inspector General Joe Ferguson has now launched an investigation into the Chicago Police Department’s handling of David Koschman’s death to determine whether the mayor’s nephew R.J. Vanecko received favored treatment.
The Illinois State Police agreed to do the same in response to a request from Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.
Asked to comment on the two new investigations that threaten to sully his final weeks in office, Daley, looking both exhausted and annoyed, said, “I have no comment on that.”
Koschman was punched on Division Street in 2004 after leaving a bar with a group of friends. He fell, hit his head and died 11 days later.
The flurry of law enforcement attention follows a Sun-Times investigation that raised questions about the Chicago Police Department’s handling of the case.
Koschman’s friends — as well as a bystander — have disputed police reports from the original 2004 investigation in which detectives said they told them the 5-foot-5, 140-pound Koschman was being physically aggressive toward a group that included Vanecko when he was punched in the early-morning hours of April 25, 2004.
The police determined that the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Vanecko threw the punch and that he and one of his friends then ran away. But taking a new look at the case early this year, they decided Vanecko had acted in self-defense and formally closed their now-seven-year-old homicide investigation.
Vanecko has declined to talk to police, who say witnesses couldn’t pick him out of a lineup held 25 days after Koschman was punched. In Sun-Times interviews, Koschman’s friends denied they told the police Koschman was being physically aggressive. And all told detectives earlier this year they would take lie-detector tests if asked.