A Chicago-area police officer has been acquitted of all charges against him related to the death of a 95-year-old World War II veteran, who died of internal bleeding after being shot at close range with a “non-lethal” beanbag round, Yahoo News is reporting.
As originally reported by The Inquisitr, Officer Craig Taylor of the Park Forest Police Department, along with other officers, was called to the assisted living facility where John W. Rana lived on July 26, 2013. He was allegedly combative, and had struck at least one nursing home staff member with his cane. He became agitated after staff at the home tried to convince him to get treatment for a urinary tract infection; treatment that he didn’t want.
When officers arrived, he allegedly brandished his shoehorn at them – which caused the officers to leave his room. When they returned, the 95-year-old veteran allegedly brandished a knife. One officer fired his Taser at the combative elderly man, and missed. Officer Taylor then fired five beanbag rounds into Rana from less than 15 feet away.
So-called “beanbag shotguns” are a “less lethal” alternative weapon that some police departments use to subdue suspects. Rather than lethal projectiles, the gun fires a small “beanbag” that is intended to subdue the suspect without killing him or her.
After the incident, Taylor was placed on desk duty while he faced trial for a single count of reckless conduct, according to The Chicago Tribune.
During Officer Taylor’s trial, the prosecution argued that Taylor had used excessive force in firing five “non-lethal” rounds, at close range, into a 95-year-old man. State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez told reporters after the trial that the police could have applied a more measured response in responding to a confused, elderly man.
“I really think other actions could have been taken and more restraint shown.”
Throughout the trial, Taylor argued that he “feared for his life.” Presiding Judge Luciano Panici, in his ruling, agreed.
“He was faced with an advancing individual with a knife over his head, threatening to kill him and his fellow police officers. There was nothing criminal about his actions.”
Taylor’s attorney, Terry Ekl, described the toll the trial has taken on his client in remarks via WLS (Chicago).
“He has not had a good night’s sleep since the date he found out he was indicted, he wakes up in the middle of the night, it’s had a terrible effect on him emotionally and I think it will take a while before that is over.”
A $7 million civil suit against Officer Taylor is currently pending.
Do you believe Officer Craig Taylor was justified in firing five beanbag round from a shotgun into a 95-year-old man? Sound off in the Comments below.