The former Michigan state trooper who allegedly deployed his Taser out of the window of his vehicle while in pursuit of a teen riding an ATV—causing the teen to crash—has been charged with murder in the 15-year-old’s death.
Former Trooper Mark Bessner, 43, was in pursuit of Damon Grimes—who was illegally riding an ATV through his Detroit neighborhood—on Aug. 26 when he deployed the Taser. That action, according to Wayne County, Mich., Prosecutor Kym Worthy, is what caused Damon to crash into a parked truck and die, the Detroit Free Press reports.
“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.
Bessner, who resigned Sept. 22, was charged with one count of second-degree murder and two counts of involuntary manslaughter. The maximum penalty for second-degree murder is life in prison.
Bessner will be arraigned Thursday.
Firing a Taser out of a moving vehicle is against Michigan State Police policy.
“We are alleging that Trooper Bessner created a very high risk of death or great bodily harm, knowing that death or such harm was the likely result, by firing his Taser from his moving police vehicle at Damon Grimes who was also on a moving ATV,” Worthy said.
In a statement released Wednesday, Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue—director of the state police—apologized to Damon’s family and said, “Troopers are not trained to do what Bessner did and we condemn his actions. His conduct was criminal in nature and deserving of the charges … authorized by Prosecutor Kym Worthy. Neither my apology nor these criminal charges will bring Damon back, but I hope they provide some amount of solace to his family.”
Monique Grimes, Damon’s mother, said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon that she does not accept the apology, and she wants justice for her son.
“I miss him every day,” Monique Grimes said. “He was only 15. He had his life ahead of him.”
Read more at the Detroit Free Press.