Chicago-area cop acquitted in beanbag gun death of World War Two vet

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 04, 2015 4:07 PM

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A Chicago-area police officer was acquitted on Wednesday of charges of reckless conduct stemming from the fatal beanbag gun shooting of a 95-year-old World War Two veteran in a nursing home, the State's Attorney's Office said.

Cook County Associate Judge Luciano Panici found that Craig Taylor, 44, a police officer in the suburb of Park Forest had not used excessive force in the 2013 incident.

Prosecutors had argued at the bench trial, which takes place before a judge instead of a jury, that Taylor could have found other ways to subdue John Wrana, who was wielding a knife and had threatened to kill people.

Wrana was shot with five beanbag rounds at a distance of five to six feet, and he died shortly afterward, according to testimony at the trial. Wrana did not drop the knife when ordered to do so by other police officers who were at the scene.

Taylor's defense lawyers said Wrana repeatedly advanced at police with the knife and said leaving him alone to cool down was not an option.

(Reporting by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Eric Beech)