Family Files Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Park Forest After Death Of WWII Vet
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(CBS) – A federal civil rights lawsuit has been filed against the village of Park Forest and six police officers following the death of a 95-year-old resident of an assisted living center almost a year ago.
The family of 95-year-old John Wrana has always said they wanted answers from the police and accountability.
Wrana was belligerent last July at his assisted living center in Park Forest. Police were called in and fired bean bag rounds at Wrana, hitting him. He later died.
Now Wrana’s stepdaughter, Sharon Mangerson, is suing the village of Park Forest and six officers, one of whom is already criminally charged. Mangerson says her stepfather did not deserve what police did.
“He was 95 years old. What kind of threat could he… to anybody? My kids, my boys even said, ‘Just throw a blanket over him.’ He’d be down on the ground. It’s true.”
Mangerson says Wrana was well liked at the assisted living facility.
“He was only there about four months and when they did a memorial service for him, everybody that knew him said he was a kind, considerate, he always worried about other people…he was a nice person.”
Park Forest Police say Wrana threatened them with the cane and 2-foot shoe-horn and ultimately a 12-inch knife.
“He was threatening not just to stab them with, but to throw at them,” said Jim Sotos, an attorney representing Park Forest.
Sotos says the officers could have used deadly force, but didn’t want to kill Wrana, so instead, they opted to use bean bag rounds which were fired from a shotgun.
“They tried to do is to subdue him without causing him serious injury. Tragically he passed away,” said Sotos.
But Sotos says it’s possible Wrana could have survived his injury, which he says was a small tear in his intestine.
“The attending surgeon wanted to repair that and believed that he could have done so rather easily and saved his life, but unfortunately, Mr. Wrana said he didn’t want the procedure done, and his stepdaughter confirmed that, and they just made him comfortable and he passed away,” said Sotos.
The lawsuit asks for at least $5 million. WBBM has asked the village of Park Forest for comment.