A former Michigan state trooper was convicted of involuntary manslaughter on Wednesday, nearly two years after he fired a Taser at a teenager on an all-terrain vehicle who then crashed and died.The teenager, Damon Grimes, 15, was illegally riding the A.T.V. in a residential area of Detroit in August 2017. State police officers followed in a patrol car to get him to pull over. When he did not immediately do so, the officer in the passenger seat of the patrol car pulled out his Taser and stunned Damon.Video footage of the episode showed the A.T.V. veering toward the side of the road. The teenager crashed into the back of a parked truck and died shortly thereafter.
Grimes had been driving about 35 mph on an ATV when Bessner — a passenger in a moving patrol car — fired his stun gun at the teen during a chase on Detroit’s east side.Grimes slammed into the back of a parked truck and flew off his ATV. The impact of the crash ripped gashes into his forehead, both cheeks and upper lip and dislocated his skull. Doctors pronounced him dead on arrival at St. John Hospital.
Bessner has a history of using excessive force and has been reprimanded before for using his Taser inappropriately, including using the device on handcuffed suspects. The investigation into Bessner’s conduct shows that over a four-year span ending in 2017, he had 40 use of force incidents, 17 pursuits and five car accidents.