CHICAGO (CBS) — The trial for a Park Forest police officer charged with felony reckless conduct in the death of an elderly man was scheduled to begin Tuesday.
Officer Craig Taylor shot 95-year-old John Wrana with multiple bean bag rounds inside an assisted living facility in the summer of 2013.
Police were trying to subdue Wrana — a World War II veteran — after he became belligerent and threatened nursing home staff and paramedics with a cane, butcher knife, and shoehorn.
What’s in question at Taylor’s trial is whether he was acting recklessly when he shot Wrana with beanbag rounds, or whether he reasonably feared for his safety.
Taylor has been charged with felony reckless conduct. A bench trial before Cook County Associate Judge Luciano Panici was scheduled to begin Tuesday at the Markham Courthouse.
Taylor was surrounded by about two dozen police officers as he entered the courthouse Tuesday morning, including Robbins Police Chief Mitchell Davis.
Officers from Park Forest, Matteson, and Robbins occupied one side of the courtroom as a “show of force” to show support Taylor and the department, according to Davis. He said he worked most of his career in Park Forest, and though he did not work with Taylor, he knows him personally.
“It’s important to show up for the show of force, in that there’s an outcry now for less-lethal, as far as dealing with subjects, and he used less-lethal. It was a very tragic outcome, and there’s nothing good to say about that. No one wants to see someone pass away,” Davis said. “But they tried to do the best that they could as a police department to not use deadly force, and it was a tragic outcome.”