From [HERE] It took nearly nine months and several petitions by the Detroit Free Press until Michigan State Police (MSP) and Detroit Police allowed the body camera and dash camera footage to be released showing the minutes leading up to and the hours following the tasing murder of Damon Grimes by MSP Trooper Mark Bessner. The 16 hours of recordings show the horror, outrage, and insensitive comments made by many officers on the scene. One video even recorded the moment of his death. Now, Bessner is finally on trial for his actions.
On Monday, a jury was seated in Wayne County Circuit Court to hear the case against Bessner who is charged with second-degree murder for tasering the teen on the ATV.
Trooper Bessner decided against all policy and reason to fire his Taser at Grimes while both he and Grimes -- riding an ATV -- were traveling at 35 mph down a residential street. To add to the insanity of his act, Bessner was the passenger in the cruiser. Having initiated the pursuit, Bessner decided to end it by tasing Grimes. The result was the complete, gruesome destruction of a human being.
Grimes had been driving about 35 mph on an ATV when Bessner — a passenger in a moving patrol car — fired his stun gun at the teen during a chase on Detroit’s east side.
Grimes slammed into the back of a parked truck and flew off his ATV. The impact of the crash ripped gashes into his forehead, both cheeks and upper lip and dislocated his skull. Doctors pronounced him dead on arrival at St. John Hospital.
Bessner is now facing murder charges. There's a good chance Grimes never knew he was being pursued. Earbuds were photographed at the scene of the fatal crash. No one involved in the pursuit has been willing to go on record as to whether they appeared to be in use at the time of death. Additionally, obtained footage shows the cruiser's emergency lights weren't activated until 24 seconds after the fatal crash.
Bessner’s lawyer says he was forced to make a split-second decision when Grimes refused to stop the ATV.
The August 2017 killing of the rising 9th grader stunned not only the community but Grimes’ family who immediately began calling for justice. They also filed a $50 million lawsuit against the Michigan State Police and demanded an inquiry into the death of their beloved family member.
Bessner radioed in the incident. He said:
Give us priority…Chasing an ATV east on Rossini from Reno. It’s a red quad. Black male, black shirt…He’s got a pulse, and he’s breathing. He’s unconscious…He slowed down. We tased him, and he crashed out.
In the video compiled by the Detroit Free Press, some officers voiced insensitivity and others outrage during the teenager’s final dying moments. What the Free Press has uncovered with this mountain of public records is staggering. Officers arriving at the scene expressed their disgust at Bessner's actions. One officer in particular registered her disbelief at what she was witnessing.
“His pulse is weakening because he was on that fuckin' thing, and you chased his ass,” Detroit Police officer Kimberly Buckner muttered to herself as she stepped out of her vehicle, her body camera recording every step and word.
As she walked toward Grimes, an unidentified Detroit police officer reached out his hand to cover the lens of Buckner's body camera quietly saying: "They fuckin' tased his ass while he was cruisin'."
Buckner showed more compassion than other officers, though. The unidentified officer she spoke with later stated police escorts for ambulances were reserved for injured officers not "bad-ass 15 [year olds]" who ran from the cops. The officer went on to state he had "no sympathy" for the dead teenager. Another unidentified officer is captured saying, "Don't run from the State Police. You'll get fucked up."
Unbelievably, Detroit PD officials had no idea this officer -- still unidentified -- had criticized the cooling corpse of a teen shot by an officer with a Taser while riding an ATV at 35 mph. Only at the prompting of the Free Press was an investigation instigated. The officer has been pulled from patrol duty while the investigation is underway.
Other officers were not so understanding and failed to realize Grimes had just finished the 8th grade. An officer told Buckner, “That’s a grown-ass man,” he said of Grimes, who was a 6-foot-1, 234-pound teenager. She corrected him saying, “No, he’s 15…. He’s 15 years old.” The male officer remarked with what seems to be heartless indifference and disassociation. He said:
He’s a bad-ass 15…No sympathy at all for bullshit. Motherfucker wanna be grown, ya act grown, you gotta fuckin’ deal with it.
Hardly an adult, Grimes was likely expected to make mistakes by the community and his family. Little did he likely suspect a cavalier rogue cop would attempt to tase him as he rode his ATV through the streets. There was some indication Grimes did not even know he was being pursued by the Michigan State troopers. The footage seems to indicate the patrol car’s emergency lights were not even on at the time he was tased.
Buckner continued to be the voice of reason among the police officers. She can be heard whispering to fellow cops, “They tased his ass while he was driving…causing him to flip and crash.”
Tasing anyone from a moving vehicle is a violation of Michigan State Police policy. As a result, county prosecutor Kym Worthy charged Bessner with murder.
As one member of the community remarked in the days and weeks following the boy’s murder, “two mistakes were made that day.” It’s true, Grimes should not have been riding his bike on the road. And it’s also true Bessner should never have thought about deploying his taser from one moving vehicle to attempt to strike another person on another moving vehicle.
One action was a misdemeanor. The other was a felony, allegedly committed by a man who should have been better trained, more understanding, and looking out for the safety of his 8th grade suspect. Either way, it’s a senseless tragedy which could have been avoided.
Bessner now faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted.