95-Year-Old Vet Killed by Police in Illinois Retirement Home With Taser, Bean Bag Guns

-By Warner Todd Huston

April, 2014 update below…

The police state strikes again.

In a major over-the-top reaction, police taserd and shot bean bags at a 95-year-old military veteran, killing him, after he refused medical treatment at his retirement home.

On July 25, police were called to the Victory Centere, an assisted living community in Park Forest Illinois–a southern suburb of Chicago–after resident John Wrana, a veteran of WWII, became “combative” while refusing medical treatment by the home’s nursing staff.

Wrana began to get unruly when he was “involuntarily” committed for medical treatment by staff at the facility, police said in a statement.

The veteran of fighting in Burma during WWII became agitated and supposedly began to threaten staffers with a metal cane and a 2-foot-long metal shoehorn device. Up to seven officers armed with shotguns and riot shields arrived at the facility. The police demanded that Wrana drop the implements but instead of responding, police say Wrana picked up a 12-inch-long knife of some sort and threatened them with it.

Police report that they eventually tasered Wrana and, when that didn’t fully subdue him, fired bean bag weapons at him.

Though Wrana was conscious when he arrived at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, by 2:30 AM he died from the ordeal.

The real facts of the incident, however, don’t seem to comport to the claims of police, says Wrana’s family.

Wrana’s family says that claims that the elderly man brandished a knife can’t be true. Neither family members nor the staff of the facility can corroborate the knife claim and think police are simply incorrect.

Further, staffers say that they weren’t in any danger from Wrana, so any claims that police were protecting others is also shaky.

Not only that, but it seems evident that Wrana was seated in a chair during the altercation with police. This makes family members ask just what sort of “threat” he could have been if he was seated as they were shooting at him?

“The Japanese military couldn’t get him at the age he was touchable, in a uniform in the war. It took 70 years later for the Park Forest police to do the job,” Wrana’s family attorney, Nicholas Grapsas, a former prosecutor, said in an interview with me Thursday.

“He was a very vital 95-year-old, let me tell you. He still played cards. He taught the 70-year-olds how to play gin rummy,” said Wrana’s step-daughter, Sharon Mangerson. “I used to admire him so much because he was able to keep doing those type of things. As independent as they come, trust me.”

Mangerson was one of the last people Wrana spoke to before he passed. The doctor taking care of the veteran at the hospital called her on the phone and told her the old man wanted to say something to her in case he didn’t make it through the coming surgery he was to undergo as a result of the attack.

“He just said, ‘Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I love you and goodbye,'” Mangerson said. “That was it.”

**UPDATE–April 2, 2014**

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has charged Park Forest Police officer Craig Taylor, 43, with one count of reckless conduct, a Class 4 felony, in the death of John Wrana.

According to the Trib report:

Park Forest police used shotgun beanbag rounds from Combined Tactical Systems Inc. The rounds travel up to 190 mph, and manufacturer’s guidelines recommend that shooter be between 21 and 50 feet from the target. An independent pathologist who studied the original autopsy report said that it appeared Wrana had at least four impact wounds to his abdomen.

If convicted the officer could get anything from probation to a three-year prison term.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, MrConservative.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, Wizbang.com, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001