Illustration for article titled Video Released After Teen Tased and Killed by Michigan State Troopers Underscores Law Enforcement’s Utter Contempt for Black Americans
Screenshot: WXYZ-TV

The incivility and cruelty of law enforcement against black citizens of the United States continues unabated.


And it’s not just white officers who hate the black bodies they are sworn to serve and protect (as the case of Freddie Gray and plenty of others show).

In a recent report by WXYZ-TV in Detroit, an investigator combed through hundreds of hours of audio and video evidence in the case of a 15-year-old who died after law enforcement tased him while he was on a moving ATV—footage procured only after journalists used the Freedom of Information Act—showing just how contemptible it gets.


In August, Damon Grimes crashed and died after he was tased from a Michigan State Trooper vehicle while he commandeered an ATV in Detroit’s streets. His crime? Popping a wheelie in a residential neighborhood.

After being shot with the volts of electricity, Damon slammed into the back of a parked truck and flew off his four-wheeler. “The impact of the crash ripped gashes into his forehead, both cheeks and upper lip, and dislocated his skull,” the Detroit Free Press reports.

The dashcam footage from State Troopers Mark Bessner and Ethan Berger, who were the chasers, was not released. But what was will make your skin crawl, underscoring the contempt shown by both state and city police officers as this child lay dying in the street.

“Don’t run from the state police; you get fucked up,” said one officer, according to WXYZ.


Also on video, troopers could be seen attempting CPR on Damon while awaiting an ambulance.

“His pulse is weakening; what’s our ETA?” was heard on dispatch.

“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 bodycam recording every word.


“They tased his ass while he was cruising,” said an officer who walked up to Buckner as he covered her bodycam.

Buckner then shut off her camera.

However, another officer, Emily Stephenson, turned on her bodycam as the ambulance arrived and the stretcher is wheeled up to Damon’s body, while another officer shuts off his bodycam.


“Should we give them, like, an escort or something?” she asked Detroit Police Officer Aubrey Wade. “Should we give them an escort to St. Johns?”

“For him? Hell no!” said Wade.

“They got lights and sirens. We only do that for police,” he said. “If an officer gets shot, we’ll do that.”


The Free Press also reports this wonderful commentary from Detroit’s finest:

Shortly after the ambulance pulled away, Buckner approached that same officer and said Grimes’ mother needed to be at the hospital.

“That’s a grown-ass man,” he said of Grimes, a 6-foot-1, 234-pound teenager.

“No, he’s 15,” she replied. “He’s 15 years old.”

“He’s a bad-ass 15,” the male officer said, later adding: “No sympathy at all for bullshit. Motherfucker wanna be grown, ya act grown, you gotta fuckin’ deal with it.”


Damon Grimes was pronounced dead on arrival at St. John’s Hospital.

WXYZ reports that “due to his insensitive comments, Wade [an African American] was reassigned.”


In December, Wayne County, Mich., Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter charges against Bessner.

“Trooper Bessner unnecessarily deployed his Taser at Mr. Grimes without legal justification or excuse as Mr. Grimes was traveling at least 35 to 40 miles per hour,” Worthy said when she announced the charges Dec. 20.


Bessner, awaiting an August murder trial, later resigned from the Michigan State Police.

The Grimes family has filed a $50 million civil suit against Bessner. They have also filed a $75,000 suit against Berger, the driver of the MSP pursuit vehicle. That trial is expected to begin in 2019.


My guess: The city will pay its taxpayer-funded blood money, and our blood will continue to spill in the streets across America.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Deputy Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.

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