Praetorian Guard is key in Vanecko investigation

She won't be dealing with how the case was handled, how files were reportedly lost and witnesses not interviewed. That's Webb's job.

Police brass and City Hall are facing other heat on other fronts. The gang wars on the South and West sides continue claiming lives in the city that for decades has had the strictest gun control laws in the nation.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and President Barack Obama play assault weapons-ban politics, and it offers them easy, symbolic righteousness.

I guess fighting the National Rifle Association on assault weapons bans is easier for Emanuel than hiring enough cops to stop the Gangster Disciples and others who use handguns exclusively.

Recently, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy embarrassed himself by holding a news conference with tables full of guns as props. The guns were presented to reporters as those seized in the first two weeks of the year.

But it wasn't true. They were guns seized last year. It was just a dog-and-pony show. Some TV news stations ran with it anyway. The Tribune exposed the sham.

Meanwhile, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, under fire for not vigorously pursuing the Vanecko case, has suffered her own series of blunders. That disastrous appearance on "60 Minutes" was one. And the other day, she was forced to suspend two prosecutors who failed to file charges against a man who threatened to burn his children. Later, the man followed through on the threat, leaving his daughter dead and his son critically injured, authorities said.

The Vanecko case has the potential to create more bad news for Chicago law enforcement. But it also has the potential to expose some old truths — if Webb to can compel the Praetorians of Chicago to tell what they know.

jskass@tribune.com

Twitter @John_Kass

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