DETROIT (WWJ) – Prominent local attorney Geoffrey Fieger has filed a $50 million lawsuit in the death of a Detroit teen on an ATV.
Fieger, who represents the family of 15-year-old Demond Grimes, said the suit was filed against the Michigan State Police trooper who allegedly killed the boy. At a news conference announcing the lawsuit, Fieger alleged that the trooper, who has not yet been identified, violated Grimes’ civil rights and was grossly negligent.
The trooper was suspended over the weekend after it was discovered he shot a Taser at Grimes, causing a fatal crash on Saturday at Rossini Drive and Gratiot Avenue in northeast Detroit.
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 ATV driver refused to stop, police said, leading troopers in a pursuit eastbound on Rossini.
At some point during the chase, one of the troopers deployed a Taser, striking the teen. At Gratiot Ave., the teen lost control of the ATV, driving off the roadway onto the sidewalk before crashing into the back of a pickup truck.
The boy was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Fieger characterized the incident as less like a pursuit and more like a drive-by shooting.
“It wasn’t as if he was following Demond. He didn’t shoot him through his windshield, he shot him through the side window of his car. What kind of chase is that? This is a shocking, shocking case.”
Although he did not offer any details, Fieger claimed that the trooper who fired the Taser has had other issues in his past that are likely to come out once he is identified.
Meanwhile, it is still unclear at this time what criminal charges, if any, the trooper may face.
To avoid the appearance of collusion, MSP First Lt. Mike Shaw said a State Police Investigative Response Unit from Lansing is handing the ongoing investigation, which includes going over dash cam video and witness interviews.
Once complete, the findings will be turned over to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
“We’ve investigated many of our own members over the years. During that time some of them have been found not responsible or not guilty,” Shaw told WWJ. “That that have broken the law or have violated any criminal aspect of our rules or or our regulations has been charged by the appropriate prosecutor’s office.”
The Detroit Police Department has also launched an independent investigation.