The police officer who killed 95-year-old World War II veteran John Wrana Jr. for refusing medical treatment was acquitted yesterday of reckless conduct, the only charge he had faced over the incident.
Wrana was killed in June 2013 after refusing to undergo treatment for what staff at the Park Forest Assisted Living Center said was a urinary tract infection. After Wrana resisted paramedics who were trying to take him to hospital, staff called the police.
Mistaking a shoehorn for a machete, cops raided Wrana’s room and fired a taser at him, but the shot missed. Officer Craig Taylor then fired five bean bag rounds from a 12-gauge shotgun at Wrana from 15 feet away.
Taylor claimed that he feared for his life after Wrana purportedly brandished a knife and “took a shuffling step forward”. Wrana died hours later from internal bleeding.
Former Secret Service advisor Francis Murphy testified that police officers failed to exercise other options to subdue Wrana and that the bean bag rounds were fired from a much closer distance than called for during training.
Cook County Associate Judge Luciano Panici said that Taylor’s actions were “not excessive” and that, “There was nothing criminal about his actions.”
Taylor’s lawyer, Terry Ekl, said that the officer had not slept properly since he learned of the indictment and it was a “shame” Taylor had to go through the trauma of appearing in court.
“I really do think other actions could have been taken and more restraint could have been shown to this victim,” said State Attorney Anita Alvarez.
The fact that Wrana was killed over his refusal to submit to medical treatment is prescient given the national debate currently taking place over whether vaccinations should be mandatory.
In a widely read USA Today piece, Alex Berezow wrote that, “Parents who do not vaccinate their children should go to jail.” Berezow has since ignored a challenge by Infowars reporter Joe Biggs to debate the issue.
“Apparently the police are the “go to guys” when you need to force medical treatment on a 95-year-old man,” writes Matt Agorist, adding, “When violent force is relied upon to convince an elderly man to get tested for a potential medical problem, we as a society lose out.”
Despite his acquittal, Taylor will face a civil suit being brought by Wrana’s family.