A Sept. 15 court date has been scheduled for the police killing of John Wrana, the 95-year-old World War II veteran who was killed in a Chicago assisted living home. The trial will be held in a small courtroom in Markham, Illinois; a small city with a population of under 15,000. The trial will be held under Associate Judge Luciano Panici.
Several days ago, Craig Taylor, the Park Forest officer who fired his shotgun at Wrana was not charged with manslaughter but rather a charge a reckless conduct felony, which can result in up to three years in prison. None of the other four police officers who were present at the scene with Taylor on that day in 2013 were given any charges.
According to the Chicago Tribune, authorities were called to report to the Victory Centre, an assisted living facility community for seniors, on July 26, 2013, because Wrana was refusing treatment and became combative. He allegedly threatened staff with his cane and shoehorn, and continued to scold them even after the police had arrived to the scene.
The five officers were armed with Tasers, a riot shield, handguns, as well as the Mossberg police shotgun that was used. Park Forest police claimed they were afraid for their lives, mistaking the shoehorn for what they claim appeared to resemble a machete. Prosecutors claim that Taylor was 6 to 8 feet from Wrana when he fired, which constitutes a violation of safety standards. The officers also claimed that Wrana held a knife, which he threatened to throw at them. Family attorney Nicholas Grapsas alleges that care home staff did not see him do this, as reported by The Blaze.
With a trial to come later in the year, it will be up to Panici to decide whether Taylor and the other officers were truly threatened by Wrana’s actions on that day. Grapsas will argue that the use of a shotgun was unnecessary force and five police officers should have been able to handle the senior without the use of a shotgun. It will be interesting to see if Grapsas decides to also charge the other officers who were present at the time of the incident. Only time will tell.