CPD policy allows officers to essentially buy their way out of suspensions

A Chicago police detective was supposed to be suspended for a year for his role in the fumbled David Koschman investigation.

But that detective will soon be back on the job after just two months off, thanks to a deal cut with former Interim Police Superintendent John Escalante.

"If an officer is to be taken off the streets, I think we all expect that an officer get off the streets,” said Koschman family attorney Locke Bowman.

Attorney Bowman says it's just the latest in a string of disappointments involving the case of David Koschman, the 21-year-old Mt. Prospect man who was killed by a single punch outside a Rush Street bar in 2004.

The man who punched Koschman, Richard Vanecko, is the nephew of then-Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. Vanecko wasn't charged until years later when he pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter after reporting by the Chicago Sun-Times forced police to re-open the case.

But even then there were problems.

"The officers involved in the 2011 re-investigation of David Koschman's murder clearly falsified reports,” Bowman said.

On Monday, Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson made public his investigation into the police department's handling of the Koschman case, saying "The officers failed to complete basic, required investigative steps, including a canvass and the pursuit of all relevant, material and reasonable investigative leads."

the report also reveals that one of the detectives who was suspended for botching the case won't be off the job for long.

Earlier this year, then-Interim Police Superintendent John Escalante announced a one-year suspension for detective Nicholas Spanos for violating departmental rules and regulations. But according to the IG’s report, Escalante then signed off on a plan allowing the detective to use accumulated comp time to skip ten months of the suspension and take only two months of unpaid leave, allowing Spanos "to return to paid duty status shortly."

"When we find out next that the sanction actually wasn't served because that officer bought out ten months of the twelve month suspension, I think we all feel disappointment and a sense of betrayal,” Bowman said.

The inspector general actually recommended that the detective be fired, but Escalante said there wasn't enough proof that he knew the report was false. Three other officers involved in the Koschman case retired before they could be disciplined.

On Monday night, Chicago’s new police superintendent, Eddie Johnson, announced he has ordered a review of the policy that allows officers to essentially buy their way out of suspensions with comp time.