DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit Police Chief James Craig has announced an independent investigation after a weekend pursuit by Michigan State Police resulted in the death of a teen.
Police said a trooper fired a Taser at 15-year-old Demond Grimes after he fled an attempted traffic stop on Saturday, at Rossini Drive and Gratiot Avenue in Detroit. After he was tased the teen, who was driving an ATV four-wheeler, crashed into a parked pickup truck and died. He was unarmed.
Although the trooper has been suspended and an MSP investigation is already underway, Craig said he decided to launch his own after speaking with Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.
“She certainly agrees whenever you talk about the loss of life there should be some independent review of that,” Craig told reporters. “We recognize that in this community we’ve built a lot of trust, so it’s always important to have that independent review.”
“I will tell you I also had a opportunity to speak with the aunt, just before this briefing. She was ecstatic over the fact that the Detroit Police Department would be conducting an investigation into her nephew’s death,” the chief said.
At Monday’s news conference Craig was asked how Detroit police deal with the larger problem of teens illegally driving off-road vehicles in the city. What’s the policy?
“I will tell you that those young people that engage in that kind of behavior, racing those ATVs, I know it’s been reported out of the 9th Precinct from our officers where these young people at time will taunt police; they’re doing what’s called wheelies in front of vehicles and circling police cars,” Craig said.
“It’s very dangerous, but again, what it amounts to is a misdemeanor at best. Our officers know not to pursue. There’s other ways that we can track, and that’s what we will do if necessary…but it’s too much risk.”
It’s unclear if State Police have an identical policy, although MSP First Lt. Mike Shaw told WWJ Newsradio 950 that the trooper having deployed his Taser during the pursuit was “in violation of official of our official orders.”
Craig said his department having launched an investigation does not mean that anyone in the Michigan State Police committed any crime. “I see this certainly as not a negative, but an opportunity to assist and get to the truth of the matter.”
No charges have been filed.
The name of the trooper involved has not been released.