A veteran Detroit police officer was removed from patrol duty after recently released police videos depicted the cop insulting a deceased teenager and his mother. According to the videos, the teen was killed by a Michigan State Police trooper who recklessly fired his Taser during a police pursuit.
On August 26, 2017, several videos recorded a State Police patrol car chasing an ATV driven by 15-year-old, Damon Grimes. The teen was driving approximately 35mph as the patrol car followed closely behind him down the street.
“Chasing an ATV east on Rossini from Reno,” Michigan State Police Trooper Mark Bessner said into a police radio. “It’s a red quad. Black male, black shirt.”
As the patrol car drove next to the ATV, Bessner violated department policy by firing his Taser at the teenager. Grimes suddenly crashed into the back of parked truck and flipped his ATV while hitting the pavement.
According to a Detroit Free Press investigation, the impact of the crash ripped gashes into the teen’s forehead, both cheeks and upper lip, and dislocated his skull. As the officers called for an ambulance, they waited 24 seconds after the crash before activating their vehicle’s lights. The patrol car’s lights were activated shortly before a Detroit police cruiser arrived on the scene.
“He’s got a pulse, and he’s breathing. He’s unconscious,” Bessner said into his police radio, adding later, “He slowed down. We tased him, and he crashed out.”
While waiting for the ambulance, an officer noted over the radio that Grimes’ pulse was weakening. Recorded on her own body camera arriving at the scene, Detroit Police Officer Kimberly Buckner muttered, “His pulse is weakening because he was on that fuckin’ thing, and you chased his ass!”
Immediately after the ambulance arrived, several officers began turning off their body cameras. But Officer Emily Stephenson turned her camera on and asked 22-year veteran officer, Aubrey Wade, if they should send a police escort along with the ambulance.
“Hell no,” Wade responded. “For him?”
After Wade told Stephenson that they only escort ambulances when another officer has been injured, the EMTs left with Grimes at least 10 minutes after the crash. Doctors pronounced him dead on arrival at St. John Hospital.
Less than two minutes after the ambulance drove away, Buckner told Wade, “Mom needs to be at the hospital right now.”
“That’s a grown-ass man,” Wade responded.
“No, he’s 15,” she replied. “He’s 15 years old.”
“He’s a bad-ass 15,” Wade told her, later adding: “No sympathy at all for bullshit. Motherfucker wanna be grown, ya act grown, you gotta fuckin’ deal with it.”
After reviewing the videos, Detroit Police Chief James Craig reassigned Wade on Wednesday to take him off patrol duty for his insensitive comments. Craig told the Detroit Free Press, “I felt, given what I heard and saw in the video, it was enough that I needed to de-appoint him from his position of neighborhood police officer.”
Bessner resigned from his job amid a criminal investigation. In December, Bessner was charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter charges for his role in the teen’s death.
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