Murder charge sought against ex-trooper in stun gun crash

Damon Grimes
An undated courtesy photo of Damon Grimes. (WDIV)

DETROIT, Mich. (WOOD) — A former Michigan State Police trooper who used a stun gun on a Detroit teen who died in an all-terrain vehicle crash is facing a murder charge.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced Wednesday that her office is seeking second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter charges against Mark Bessner, as well as three other officers in separate incidents.

>>App users: Watch the prosecutor’s news conference here.

The charges stem from the Aug. 26 crash that killed 15-year-old Damon Grimes.

Officers were trying to pull over the teen for reckless driving, but he left on the ATV.

MSP said during the pursuit, Bessner fired his Taser out the window of his moving patrol vehicle, hitting Damon before the teen’s ATV crashed into the back of a truck at Rossini Drive and Gratiot Avenue in Detroit.

Damon died at the hospital from blunt force trauma to his head.

Bessner was suspended without pay amid the investigation. He resigned Sept. 22 and two other state police employees were suspended days later in connection to the case.

Bessner’s lawyer says he made a split-second decision to use a Taser when Damon refused to stop.

Since the teen’s death, state police no longer conduct high-speed chases in Detroit unless they’re investigating a major crime.

Damon’s family is already suing the former trooper for $50 million for allegedly using excessive force.

Worthy also announced charges against three other Detroit officers during a Wednesday news conference:

Lonnie Wade is charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm, felonious assault and two counts of misconduct in office for allegedly beating a man suspected of shoplifting during an Oct. 8 arrest at a Meijer in Detroit. Wade was working security at the store at the time. The victim, David Bivins, is now suing Meijer for $25 million.

Officer Richard Billingslea is charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm, aggravated assault, obstruction of justice and assault and battery for allegedly assaulting and unlawfully arresting a man buying cigarettes at a gas station.

Officer Edward Hicks is charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, aggravated assault, obstruction of justice and misconduct in office for allegedly beating a man for no apparent reason on Aug. 30.

—The Associated Press contributed to this story.