As if having its leader in the news for posting hateful messages on Facebook wasn’t enough, the troubles with the Michigan State Police continue to grow. The trooper who allegedly used his stun gun on a 15-year-old ATV driver he was chasing has resigned, and two other officers involved in the incident have been suspended.
In addition, the Detroit News reports that a state police sergeant is under investigation by Detroit police for allegedly throwing away evidence from the scene of that encounter that left 15-year-old Damon Grimes dead.
The sergeant responded to the scene Aug. 26, picked up one of the stun gun’s wires and prongs, and later threw it away in a trash can at a state police post, sources told the Detroit News.
Investigators now seek to determine whether the sergeant was attempting to conceal evidence or was simply careless in tossing the evidence away. Sources told the Detroit News that the other stun gun wire used on Damon was collected at the scene and taken into evidence.
Detroit police will submit warrant requests to prosecutors, seeking charges against the sergeant, the driver of the patrol car and the officer on the passenger side of the patrol car who deployed the stun gun out the window.
Michigan State Police spokeswoman Shanon Banner said Monday that Trooper Mark Bessner—the passenger in the patrol car—has resigned and that two other state troopers involved in the incident have been suspended. She declined to identify those troopers or say what they had done.
“We have started submitting our reports to the prosecutor’s office, and now we want to respect them and let them carry out their role in this process,” Banner said. “We have conducted a thorough investigation and we want to be as transparent as possible, but we need to let prosecutors review our investigation report.
“As a result of our investigation, we thought it was appropriate to suspend two other employees,” Banner added. “Another [Bessner] has chosen to resign.”
Banner said that Bessner was suspended Aug. 28, two days after the fatal incident. He resigned Sept. 22. The other officers were suspended Sept. 26. All three suspensions were paid.
According to authorities, Damon was illegally riding an ATV in the streets around his neighborhood when troopers told him to stop. When he didn’t, a pursuit began. Bessner stuck his stun gun out the window and deployed it at Damon.
The electrically charged prongs hit Damon, who afterward crashed his ATV into a flatbed. According to the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office, he died of blunt-force head injuries.
Following the incident, investigations were launched by both state police and Detroit police. On Friday, those agencies said that their investigations were winding down.
According to the Detroit News, the incident caused the Michigan State Police to change its policy regarding vehicle pursuits. State police previously chased traffic violators and others committing nonviolent crimes, but the new policy requires officers to refrain from high-speed chases unless they are in pursuit of someone deemed to be a danger to the community.
Read more at the Detroit News.