DETROIT (WWJ/AP) — Local ministers are calling for a quick investigation into the death of a Detroit teen tased by a State Trooper during a chase over the weekend.
Damon Grimes, 15, died this past weekend when Michigan State Trooper Mark Bessner tased him during a police chase. The incident has received a lot of attention with more than 200 people gathering 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.
To avoid more backlash, local ministers are calling for a speedy investigation.
“This potentially turns into something that you can’t get your arms around so I would think as a city leader, prosecutor’s office, mayor’s office, Michigan State Police, Detroit Police Department, I (would) want to get the facts out as soon as possible,” Rev. David Bullock said. “I want to let people know what’s going on so there isn’t an opportunity for the community to fester.”
Bullock and other members of the community are planning a demonstration for Friday outside the Detroit Police Headquarters — where State Police also have a post. Demonstrators hope to meet with authorities.
WWJ Newsradio 950 caught up Rev. W.J. Rideout III on the incident, and he says the community is angry and wants justice for Grimes.
“This kid did not have a weapon,” Rideout told WWJ Newsradio 950. “We stand around and act like its okay and we ask questions why did he run? Why wouldn’t you run at the rate of police officers killing and shooting people nowadays. Why wouldn’t you run?”
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.
Bessner is suspended while authorities investigate what happened last Saturday in Detroit. His attorney, Richard Convertino, spoke out on his behalf on Wednesday, stating Bessner “was forced to make a split-second decision under circumstances.”
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