Wicked Commentary

Police State Runs Amok

Kass: Was police killing of 95-year-old necessary?

Common sense tells me that cops don’t need a Taser or a shotgun to subdue a 95-year-old man.

John Wrana and his wife Helen.

John Wrana and his wife Helen.

August 03, 2013|John Kass

John Wrana and his wife, Helen in 2005. Helen died in 2005. ( Family photo from Attorney Nick Grapsas (handout))

When John Wrana was a young man, fit and strong and fighting in World War II with the U.S. Army Air Corps, did he ever think he’d end this way?

Just a few weeks shy of his 96th birthday, in need of a walker to move about, cops coming through the door of his retirement home with a Taser and a shotgun.

The old man, described by a family member as “wobbly” on his feet, had refused medical attention. The paramedics were called. They brought in the Park Forest police.

First they tased him, but that didn’t work. So they fired a shotgun, hitting him in the stomach with a bean-bag round. Wrana was struck with such force that he bled to death internally, according to the Cook County medical examiner.

“The Japanese military couldn’t get him at the age he was touchable, in a uniform in the war. It took 70 years later for the Park Forest police to do the job,” Wrana’s family attorney, Nicholas Grapsas, a former prosecutor, said in an interview with me Thursday.

Wrana’s family wants answers. The Illinois State Police are investigating the horrific incident but won’t comment, and neither will the Park Forest police pending the outcome of the inquiry.

I wasn’t at the scene, and maybe the police have a good explanation. But common sense tells me that cops don’t need a Taser or a shotgun to subdue a 95-year-old man.

And after doing some digging, I found there are two versions of events: The police version, and a new picture that raises questions of whether John Wrana was killed unnecessarily.

The Park Forest police version is that on the night of July 26, John Wrana, a resident of the Victory Centre senior living facility, threatened staff and paramedics with a 2-foot-long metal shoehorn and a metal cane. The police statement neglects to mention that the old man also used a walker, at least according to photographs supplied by Grapsas.

“Attempts were made verbally to have the resident comply with demands to drop the articles, to no avail,” the police statement reads. “The resident then armed himself with a 12-inch butcher type kitchen knife.”

But lawyer Grapsas says that Wrana’s family never saw a knife in his room and that staff also told him Wrana didn’t have such a knife.

“So where did the knife come from?” Grapsas asked.

The police statement leaves the impression that the staff was under threat, leaving police with no choice other than to shoot him.

But according to Maria Oliva, an executive with Pathway Senior Living, the staff was kept out of the room after police arrived. So there was no imminent threat to staff.

“The staff was not inside once the police were on the scene,” Oliva told us. “At different times the staff were in there, but not when they were called. They (the police) were in charge at that point.”

Police said there had been threats made against the staff. But Grapsas said he was told that staff begged to be allowed to try to calm down the old man.

“If there were threats to the staff, why did the staff want to intervene and say, ‘Let us handle this; we’ll get him calmed down’?” he asked.

Grapsas says he was told that police used a riot shield to come through the door before shooting bean-bag rounds at the old man as he sat in his chair.

Riot shields are used to push back mobs of angry young protesters in the streets, or against dangerous convicts in prison cells, not to subdue an old, old man in a chair.

“At some point, I’m told there were between five and seven police officers, they went back to the room with a riot shield in hand, entered the door and shot him with a shotgun that contained bean-bag rounds,” Grapsas said.

If this is true and police had a riot shield, why on earth would they need a shotgun?

Most veteran cops I talked to suspect this is a case of unnecessary force. I’ve never met a police officer who couldn’t handle a 95-year-old man in a walker. And John Wrana wasn’t Jason Bourne. He was an old war veteran who didn’t want to be pushed around.

But one senior police official who has trained police recruits in defensive tactics had a different take.

“When I first heard it, I was like, ‘C’mon,'” he said. “Then I thought it through. We don’t know what occurred. We don’t know what information they had at that time. If you don’t have all of the facts, it’s hard to judge someone. … Anyone can be dangerous.”

Sharon Mangerson, 74, doesn’t see her stepfather as dangerous.

Wrana and Mangerson’s mother, Helen, were married for more than 30 years. Helen died in 2005. So Wrana lived with Mangerson in the south suburbs until his health — and her health — began to fail.

She said he was a fiercely independent member of the greatest generation, honorably discharged as a sergeant after serving in India and Burma during the war.

“He was a very vital 95-year-old, let me tell you. He still played cards. He taught the 70-year-olds how to play gin rummy,” she said in an interview. “I used to admire him so much because he was able to keep doing those type of things. As independent as they come, trust me.”

On the night of the incident, he wound up at Advocate Christ Medical Center. The doctor was on the phone with Mangerson, telling her that even if Wrana survived surgery, he’d likely be on life support. Wrana wanted to talk to her. The doctor held the phone up to his ear, she said.

“He just said, ‘Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I love you and goodbye,'” Mangerson recalled, her voice cracking. “That was it.”

Will the family ever get an explanation?

“I want answers,” she said. “I want someone held accountable.”



We hear of these abuses by police every day that it is clear we are living in a police state.  Today more police departments are manned like military. The DHS has given the police much of this type of equipment. Doors are knocked down in the wrong houses and people killed when the police had the wrong house. First they shoot any dog/s you may have in the house. Are there any apologies by the police? No.


Comments on: "Police State Runs Amok" (43)

  1. This is a very sad story – I wonder if the cop who shot this gentlemen was black or white. Could this be another justice for Trayvon. I just read where 3 black teens beat a 6th grader on a school bus; the black bus driver did nothing to help, except call 911.


    • Hi Donna,

      Very sad story indeed. There was no reason the police had to be so brutal with the old man. I wonder too about this. The article didn’t say if the cops were black or what. I don’t believe the police version of this story at all.

      Yeah, I heard that story about the black teens beating up that kid. Now that one smacks of the Trayvon justice thing. And that the bus driver did nothing.


    • Navy Veteran said:

      Donna, I saw this story last week in an American Legion site. 1100+ comments and 99% outrage expressed. However, you will not find any recognition of this incident on the AARP web site. 99% of those who hear of this and comment are outraged, but AARP takes no notice, and veterans organizations cannot be bothered to call out and organize members to demonstrate at Park Forest Il city hall to demand justice for John Wrana. If this outrageous case does not provide the stimulus for activism by leaders of AARP and veterans organizations, what would? They need to get out of their comfy offices and hit the streets in support of those whom they claim to represent.


      • Thank you Navy Veteran, for serving our country. My husband, Ray, also served in the US Navy and is quite proud of that! You are right and we will not hear about this on the liberal news media and for sure nothing from that trouble maker Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson – or Obama…


  2. Sure does give the lie to so many PD slogans, “To Serve And Protect”. What a load of Horse Turds. And even the flies don’t believe it. Sometimes, I wonder, if it’s worth the courage to grow old?


    • Hi Grouchy,

      Yeah, I think that saying is long gone now. We live in a police state and things like this happen every day. Right, it takes courage to grow old all right. And like you there are times I wonder if it’s worth it too.


  3. When things like this happen, it’s hard not to say we are in a police state. The staff could have calmed him down. All these incidents keep happening but I never hear about any lawsuits or court cases. I wonder why? A riot shield, really. But this is how they treat citizens.


    • Bull,

      Yes, this is really one bad story. The man may have had Alzheimer’s and they can get feisty but the staff would have calmed him down and gotten him under control. The staff knows how to do that. My friend Linda, RIP, a nurse worked in these places all the time. If a patient had even a bruise the inspector was called in to investigate if anyone hit that person.

      The police did not need to be so brutal. And what were they thinking when they shot this old man in the belly, People that age are so vulnerable to any kind of force. Just handling them the wrong way can break a bone.

      This story is outrageous to say the least. And more and more of this keep happening. On Fox I heard in 1984 there were about 1000 cases like this by police. Now it’s over 80,000 cases.

      It seems the police get away with this all the time. I have no idea why.


      • Pepp,

        Well, which is worse that they happen or they can get away with them with impunity? That many. I’m not sure how this situation can even come about. What about in house security and why the staff wasn’t used. They always say they try to use family or people that know them to defuse the situation. What they had no tear gas? What would the other residents think? I’m not sure I’d trust any investigation.


        • Bull, it seems worse that they can get away with it with this at all. The whole situation is unbelievable. Right, I wonder that too about the why the staff was locked out of his room. That makes no sense. Then they just did what they wanted to do to him behind closed doors and tell their own lying story. I would not trust any investigation by the police over this since they stick up for one another all the time. If someone squeals they are a dead man.


  4. Too bad the old fellow didn’t take some of THEM out FIRST. Assholes. A warning to cranky seniors, such as myself: If you end up in an old folks warehouse, BE WELL ARMED.


    • clyde,

      Ha ha! Yeah, if he wasn’t so disabled and could barely walk he wasn’t able to but if he was OK he would have taken them on I’m sure. He was a vet after all.

      LOL! Yes, we well armed at the nursing home is right!


  5. […] Police State Runs Amok (pepperhawkfarm.wordpress.com) […]


  6. Gar Swaffar said:

    Hey, ya just never know what kind of trouble those Old Codgers can start when they have a two foot shoehorn in hand. It would have taken only one cop bent over trying to get his foot back in his shoe and BAMMMO, John could have….helped the cop get his shoe back on.


    • I hear all the time that old Geezers are not to be messed with or else. What you describe is hilarious.


      • Gar Swaffar said:

        Well, to be fair to the Gestapo. A two foot shoehorn could be used to separate the cheeks of an unsuspecting officer of the law. But that would then beg the question of why that Brown Shirt was not paying attention.


  7. We can kiss everything that is right goodbye forever. This Mr. John Wrana that was murdered, is just an example where it will start with a police action. If you have had the unfortunate experience of having a parent in a nursing home, it is surly understandable how they get their ire up. They are being told 24 hours a day how to live. For the police to use riot tactics on Mr. Wrana since he had shoehorn and a cane, this surly gets the message out by terrorizing the older war veterans, the baby boomers, then anybody that speaks out against the left agenda. There will be no civil up rising, they will make a few examples of people who speak up for what is right and then the masses will cave in to the authoritarian government. Combine this with spying on every move we make, the economy on the brink of collapse, government health care dictating what we can and cannot be treated for as we age and this leave only one conclusion – Say goodbye to the life we have known. It’s been nice while it lasted


    • Walt, my friend Linda had this problem all the time, but she knew how to handle them. She had a wonderful way of soothing the old people and she loved them all.

      That’s right, the government and the police now seem to hate vets. And he was basically murdered for no reason.

      With government dictating what we can have while you mention it, I got a letter from Medicare telling me it won’t now pay for certain equipment I need and the meds that go with it. Well, so long to those. I can’t afford all that stuff. This is what happens with Obamacide. New rules and regulations limiting Medicare patients what they can or cannot have.

      Also I’ve gotten notices recently from Medicare about how much they lowered my doctor payments and it’s bad. No wonder docs are quitting. This is probably due to the king taking out of Medicare $750 billion to support Obamacide instead and now we seniors get the short end of the stick. Every time he says “this means better care for seniors” I want to scream LIAR!

      Yep, it was nice while it lasted.


      • Pepper, right there with you and Medicare. I actually recently found it to be cheaper, to ask the doctor for the cash price. An office follow up visit, no treatment was $120. I just paid it instead of using Medicare and the 3K deductible where the same visit would have been $180. Cheer your spirits – great dog video


        • Walt,

          Wow, an office follow up visit for $120. That seems expensive to me. We don’t get charged that much for a follow up visit. But for you I guess it was cheaper. We live in a very small farm community and the docs are much cheaper here.

          I’ll watch that dog video. I love dog videos.


      • willibeaux said:

        Yo Mrs. Pepper’awk! Our Drs. won’t take Medicare (original) patients anymore. As Obama care continues to destroy our health care, more and more doctors will refuse to treat Medicare patients. Ain’t it goin’ to be fun?

        ‘oohrah! 😉


        • Willi, do you mean when you say “original” Medicare patients that you are now kicked out of your doctor. This just gets worse all the time.


  8. Reblogged this on That Mr. G Guy's Blog and commented:
    I just have no words.


  9. Police instead of the Obamacare death panels.


  10. A 95-year-old geezer who needed a walker to get around and five to seven big, brave, he-man, police couldn’t subdue him without riot shields and a bean bag shot – while he was sitting down? This just doesn’t pass the smell test. The individual who shot him ought to be dropped off in the worst part of urban Chicago, tied, gagged, and wearing his police uniform. That MIGHT be justice and it would save the expense of a trial.


    • Garnet,

      It doesn’t pass the smell test with me either. I love your idea about the one that killed this old man. True that would be justice in almost anyone’s book.


  11. Ok, I won’t make any friends with my comments but here goes any way … especially since 911, we as a society have elevated police as “heroes” and most of the police have bought into this emotional tag. In addition, police have been allowed to take on the role of a faux military organization in many jurisdictions around the country. Again, these police are hailed as “heroes.”

    They aren’t heroes. They get paid to do a job. Do some of them do heroic things, YES. But many reading this blog have also done heroic things, haven’t you?

    When my husband person (retired cop, not policeman) sees accounts like this he reverts to street language and I can’t even find a way to translate his comments. It ain’t pretty. This is a total farce and there should be a lot of heads that roll.

    And Peppehawk you are right on the money … the nurses and staff could have handled this and this tragedy could have been avoided. Not good!


    • Mrs. Al,

      There is nothing you said that would cause anyone here a problem.

      What you said is the truth. I don’t look at them as heroes unless one of them does something “really” heroic, otherwise like you said they do the job we pay them to do.

      Your husband sounds like mine when I told him about this post. He hasn’t read it yet. I told him only this morning what I put up and he was so furious I thought he’d burst an artery. So I can certainly understand your husband’s fury, especially being a cop.

      I hope heads roll over this, but I doubt it. The police are covering up by telling an outlandish story. This man could barely stand up by himself.

      That’s right, the nursing staff could have easily got him to calm down. They are especially trained for this. There never was any need for this kind of brutality. It makes me sick to my stomach.

      Oh, yes, we all have done something heroic in our own lives but we mostly think of them being extraordinary acts by ordinary people. Unsung heroes go by every day without us ever knowing because we don’t brag about them.


  12. Big problem. Every institution calls the police very quickly when things don’t go the way they want. It happens in hospitals, public schools, now, senior residences.

    What ever the problem with this poor man, there was no reason the police couldn’t take this slower. If he did have a butcher knife, they could have waited til he fell asleep. sheesh! This is criminal and I hope the murderers are prosecuted and imprisoned.


    • tanngl,

      Thanks for coming by. And welcome to my blog.

      Nursing homes don’t generally (from my friend Linda’s experiences working in them) call the police to take someone to the hospital. Usually they just call an ambulance. They must do it different in Chitcago. Ambulance people are also trained to quiet down a feisty senior. She never had one case where the police were called in.

      Oh, I’m sure he did NOT have a butcher knife. These places are very careful about that kind of thing. That, I’m sure was made up and the nursing staff backed it up that he did not have one. That is utter BS so the cops can make excuses for what they did.

      It is a criminal act for what the cops did and I hope they pay a price for this, but I have the feeling nothing will be done about this. This kind of stuff is going on all over the country but you don’t hear about it on the news. They should be reporting stuff like this. When Judge Napolitano had his show on Fox he would report incidents of this gestapo police tactics every night. Too bad his show was taken off of Fox and no doubt because he was telling the truth and somebody didn’t like it.


  13. goshawk3 said:

    Pepp was right when she said Iwas furious! I still am! especially reading this. There was absolutely no damn reason for ‘any’ police to be there! Hell, a teenage girl could handle the old guy by herself!

    And 7 of these great big bad guys dressed in battle gear couldn’t subdue him!?? This is pure Gestapo tactics!


  14. goshawk3 said:

    If interested, John Ransom of Townhall has an interesting column about the “Police State” that we’ve become.



  15. Davetherave said:

    Pepp, this makes me really pissed off. We are suppose to believe such bull shit as these bad ass, tough cops…sorry…Park Forest Police…couldn’t subdue a 95 year old man? Hell; worse case scenario, if they had to shoot him with a bean bag they could have shot the guy in the leg or chest…why aiming for the head (though there is not a reason in the world I can think of them having to shoot him at all)? Those 7 guys must be real wimps and need to get to the gym and work out more. And riot gear?? Bunch of Schutzstaffel bastards.

    One of my Aunts has worked in nursing homes for over 25 years and has NEVER ran into an incident the staff could not handle. Patients that are potentially dangerous aren’t even allowed to have objects such as knives in their rooms. Maybe where real cops carry “throw down guns” Park Forest Police carry “throw down knives” to vindicate their absurd actions. The bastards should be in jail for first degree murder!

    Oh yeah; why in the hell was it Park Forest Police? Is the nursing home in the middle of the damn woods?? Was the old guy threatening to chop down trees and it pissed off the tree-huggers?? This story reeks of as many lies as come out of the White Mosque.


    • Dave,

      I thought this story would tick you off as it did Hawk. I suppose you can imagine how you’d feel if this were your Dad when he was alive. Yes it is full of lies by the police that is backed up by the nursing station. They should not have shot him anywhere with a bean bad. Old people like this are extremely suspectible to these kinds of blows. They shot him in the stomach, not the head. He bled out from internal injuries.

      Yes, this is what we have under the King’s administration, the license for cops to do whatever they please. It’s unbearable. And it goes on all the time.


      • Pepp, sorry about the “head shot” misquote but I was overcome with being furious. If 7 Tree Hugger Police can’t subdue a 95 year old man with simply body strength, then what in the hell are they doing being pretend cops anyway? You are so right this is unbearable and I hope those bastards burn in hell’s fire for what they did. How they can even sleep at night is beyond my imagination. The Pharaoh’s plan is going exactly how it was planned out by his bosses. Let them all burn in hell for all I care…


        • Dave,

          No need for an apology. We all miss things when reading especially when it hits ya in the gut. I hope these morons end up in prison too, but I doubt it. God will deal whether they go to hell or not and I leave that in His Hands.

          They are sociopaths, therefore they have no consciences thus they sleep quite well at night.


        • Dave, its complete insanity. These people will do anything to save a spotted owl but a vet in the nursing home? Not so much. Outrageous.


  16. Hey Pepp, on the other hand, those coppers didn’t run across the right “lady”. I could think of purple gimp giving them a run for their money…..or sending for reinforcements anyway. Or taking one down with her, mileage may vary.


    • Bull,

      LMAO! Oh yeah, I can see Purplegimp fighting them off and getting the better of those wimps. She’d have them knocked all over the place before they even knew it. She’d most certainly take one down with her. Thanks Bull for that bit of humor about Lucie.


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