A Park Forest, Illinois police officer has been charged in the death of 95-year-old John Wrana, a WWII veteran who was killed in a dispute over medical treatment. Officer Craig Taylor appeared before a judge and faces one charge of reckless conduct, a Class 4 felony. He was freed on his own recognizance.
As reported last August, police were called to the Victory Centre Senior Living Facility because Wrana was refusing medical care and had reportedly become aggressive in his refusal. According to the police, Wrana was “combative” and went so far as to shake his cane at the staff, as well as a knife. Police also claimed he had brandished a shoehorn that was first mistaken for a machete.
There were several police officers at the scene, and they used a riot shield to force entry into Wrana’s room. After an attempt to Taser Wrana had failed, Taylor allegedly fired five bean bag rounds at him while he was sitting in a chair.
Wrana was separated from the staff in his room when he was confronted by the police, and witnesses dispute the police’s claim that Wrana was wielding a knife. Family members say he didn’t own a knife, certainly not a 12-inch butcher knife, and the nursing home staff did not see him holding one. It is notable that Wranas also needed a walker to move around, which casts doubt on the claim by police that Wranas was an immediate threat to the rest of the residents and staff.
Taylor faces probation or up to three years in prison if he is convicted. Wrana’s family is relieved that an investigation has led to somebody being held accountable for the tragedy. “On behalf of the family, we’re pleased that it’s finally been addressed and reviewed. We’re pleased that there’s at least been an outcome with respect with an investigation that’s taken far, far too long,” said Nicholas Grapsas, the attorney representing Wrana’s stepdaughter.
Follow Annabelle Bamforth on Twitter.