DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A Michigan State Police trooper who fired his Taser at a teenager before the 15-year-old crashed an all-terrain vehicle and died had to make a “split-second decision” under tough circumstances, an attorney said.
“The death of Damon Grimes was tragic, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends,” said Richard Convertino, an attorney for Trooper Mark Bessner.
Bessner is suspended while authorities investigate what happened last Saturday in Detroit. He’s accused of firing a Taser at Grimes from his patrol car. The teen crashed the ATV and died.
“Under no circumstance should any police officer ever shoot like a cowboy out of his vehicle,” said attorney Geoffrey Fieger, who is representing Damon’s family and suing for $50 million.
Convertino released a statement Wednesday, saying Grimes was evading arrest while driving recklessly in an urban area.
“Trooper Bessner was forced to make a split-second decision under circumstances on the scene and at the moment, which was tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving,” Convertino said. “We are fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation and trust the investigators will assess the facts objectively in light of the totality of the circumstances.”
Meanwhile, more than 200 people gathered Wednesday night at the crash site, including 20 people on ATVs. Some shouted obscenities at police, and two men jumped onto the rear of a police cruiser. No arrests were made, Detroit Sgt. Nicole Kirkwood said.
“It shouldn’t have to be like this,” said the teen’s mother, Monique Grimes. “He was only 15. He enjoyed riding his bike. I just want justice for Dae Dae.”
According to State Police, troopers assigned to the MSP Metro South Post, Detroit Secure Cities Partnership attempted to stop the 15-year-old driver of an ATV 4-wheeler for reckless driving. The troopers activated their emergency lights and siren, but the Grimes refused to stop, police said, leading troopers in a pursuit eastbound on Rossini.
At some point during the chase, Trooper Bessner deployed a Taser, striking the teen. At Gratiot Ave., Grimes lost control of the ATV, driving off the roadway onto the sidewalk before crashing into the back of a pickup truck.
Grimes was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.