MARKHAM, Ill. –A Park Forest police officer was acquitted of reckless conduct today for for firing several beanbags at an elderly man ultimately taking his life.
The judge in this case says he found Craig Taylor “not guilty” because the evidence showed that nothing he did was “excessive, reckless, or criminal” but that he acted as any other reasonable police officer would have.
The veteran police officer cried and hugged his wife when the not guilty verdict was read. The courtroom was filled with police officers from the south suburbs but most from his department. They’ve supported Taylor throughout his reckless conduct trial.
Judge Luciano Panici said in shooting five bean bag rounds at 95-year-old John Wrana , Taylor was doing what he was trained to do.
In July of 2013, Taylor and other Park Forest police officers were called to the Victory Centre assisted living home. Wrana, a World War II vet, had refused to go to the hospital for a suspected urinary tract infection. Staff tried to calm him down all day. He was attacking them with his cane and getting up from his chair to swing at them. But when Wrana took a 12″ carving knife with a 7″ blade, held it over his head and lunged at police, Officer Taylor shot the bean bags at him – as his commander told him to do.
Taylor’s lawyer says no one wanted Wrana to die. He said Taylor feels horrible and if everyone could redo that day they might all make different choices.
A doctor testified that if Wrana had had the surgery he might have survived.
Officer Taylor will return to the street after being on desk duty. He still faces a $7 million dollar civil case which his attorney says is now weakened by this verdict.
No one from Wrana’s family wanted to comment.