95-year-old WWII vet John Wrana was killed by police after he resisted medical care in his nursing home last month.
According to the Chicago Tribune, nursing home staff said Wrana was being “combative” as he resisted involuntary medical treatment. Apparently, he was so opposed to receiving the care that he was threatening to harm employees with his cane and shoehorn. A police press release states that the elderly man went so far as to pick up a large knife as well.
Eventually police were called and showed up on the scene to try and calm the old man down. After repeated attempts to calm Wrana down failed, officers used a Taser on him. They then proceeded to shoot him with bean bags.
It was then that Wrana fell on the ground. He was taken to the hospital almost immediately, where he died the next morning. His death was a direct result of the police abuse. Specifically, he died from the bean bags that were shot at him from a 12-gauge shotgun.
Nicholas Grapsas is an attorney who represents Wrana’s family. He said, “This was a literal war hero. It’s outright insulting when you have such lack of respect for someone who served our country to the extent he did.”
There are several key aspects in this case that point to the policemen’s actions being unwarranted.
For one, witnesses who were present during the incident did not see Wrana holding a knife at anytime, despite the police press release stating the fact. Secondly, the old man was sitting in a chair during the entire incident. It is hard to believe that seasoned police officers would not be able to handle an elderly man who used a walker.
Once the police came on the scene, staff members were not allowed in the room with Wrana any longer. Several employees asked to try and calm Wrana down again, but were refused. Grapas said, “At some point, I’m told there were between five and seven police officers, they went back to the room with a riot shield in hand, entered the door and shot him with a shotgun that contained bean-bag rounds.”
Given the information available, it seems likely that unnecessary force was used against Wrana.
Although the old man was described as “independent,” no one knew him to be dangerous.
Still, it is important not to make judgements since we do not know exactly what made the officers decide to carry out their actions.
Do you think this is a clear case of police power abuse? Or is more clarity needed to make a judgement? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.