A former Michigan State Police trooper has been charged with murder in the death of a 15-year-old boy whose ATV crashed after he was Tasered while trying to evade police.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said former Trooper Mark Bessner unnecessarily deployed his Taser Aug. 26 while the teen was traveling up to 40 mph, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Bessner, 43, resigned in September from the state police and is facing charges of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. The charges carry a sentence of up to life in prison.
He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.
“We will never turn away or run away from a tough case even if it involves law enforcement,” Worthy said.
According to the Detroit News, Worthy said she decided on second-degree murder because “he created a very high risk of death. He may not have meant to kill him, but that doesn’t matter. The classic law school test is, if you’re on top of a tall building, and you drop a safe down, you may not have intended to kill (someone), but you created a high risk of death.”
According to the prosecutor, Officer Bessner and his partner attempted to stop 15-year-old Damon Grimes as the boy was riding an ATV.
He took off, and the officers pursued.
As Grimes fled, he was struck with prongs from the Taser fired by Bessner which caused him to crash into a parked truck.
Grimes was pronounced dead at a hospital less than 30 minutes later, the prosecutor said.
The Detroit Free Press reported it was against Michigan State Police policy to deploy a Taser from a moving vehicle.
Michigan State Police Director Kriste Kibbey Etu released a statement and apologized to the family of Damon Grimes.
“Troopers are not trained to do what Bessner did and we condemn his actions,” she said in the statement. “His conduct was criminal in nature and deserving of the charges today authorized by Prosecutor Kym Worthy. Neither my apology nor these criminal charges will bring Damon back, but I hope they provide some amount of solace to his family.”