(WWJ) In the wake of a $50 million civil lawsuit filed against a Michigan State Police trooper for the death of a teen on an ATV, the department has changed its pursuit policies.
MSP announced that “effectively immediately, troopers patrolling in the City of Detroit will be prohibited from engaging in vehicle pursuits resulting from a traffic violation or misdemeanor offense.” Called Official Order 10, troopers noted this policy change will be in effect until the order is revised.
Official Order 10 comes after troopers assigned to the MSP Metro South Post, Detroit Secure Cities Partnership attempted to stop a 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. 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 — and Fieger filed a $50 million lawsuit.
State Police say the pursuit policy change applies only to the city of Detroit. “However, all MSP enforcement members have been reminded that current policy requires our members to weigh the hazard presented by the violator against the risk created by the pursuit in all instances, as well as several other factors to be considered before engaging in or continuing a vehicle pursuit.”
Detroit Police Chief James Craig ordered an independent investigation by the Detroit Police Department, and Mayor Mike Duggan issued a statement on the death of Damon Grimes and the MSP pursuit policy.
Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Damon Grimes. I fully support Chief Craig’s decision to have the Detroit Police Department conduct an independent investigation into the events leading up to his death. DPD will be presenting its findings to Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.
Police chases often have the potential for tragedy and the difference in the policies of the Detroit Police Department and the Michigan State Police highlight that concern. The Detroit Police Department policy is not to engage in high speed chases for traffic offenses or misdemeanors. In the case of felonies, the decision to continue a high speed chase is made by a supervisor.
I met with Governor Snyder and urged the State Police to adopt the City of Detroit’s policy when patrolling in our city. I also spoke with State Representative Sheldon Neely (D) of Flint and expressed my full support for his proposed legislation to require Michigan State Police abide by local pursuit policies when patrolling within the boundaries of a city.
I am encouraged that MSP leadership is taking steps towards changing its policy. Chief Craig and the Detroit Police Department will continue to work with them to ensure that safe policing procedures are followed in the city of Detroit.