On Aug. 26, 2017, 15-year-old Damon Grimes was involved in a police pursuit while driving an ATV in Detroit. That pursuit ended in a crash that claimed Grimes’ life.
Reporters at Scripps station WXYZ in Detroit requested video from the crash under the Freedom of Information Act, and received 25 hours worth of video from police body cameras and dash cameras, surveillance video and cell phone video shot by witnesses that tell the story of the senseless death.
Officials did not provide footage from the dash cam of the pursuit by Michigan State Troopers, Mark Bessner and Ethan Berger.
At 5:31 p.m., video shows Damon Grimes riding his ATV down Rossini Avenue and Gratiot in Detroit. At that time, Trooper Mark Bessner requested priority to chase an ATV.
“He flipped. Flipped!” Detroit Police Officer Williams said, video shows.
“Yup, tell them there’s an accident,” said DPD Officer Boersman, who was first on the scene.
Grimes had hit a parked Ford F-150 with his ATV and he flew off the four-wheeler.
“0-9, he’s slowed down, we tased him and he crashed out. Have EMS step it up,” Bessner said.
As Detroit Police Officer Kimberly Buckner heads to the scene in her squad car, radio chatter from MSP can be heard on the radio.
“If you could just maybe have a unit or two make it there for moral support, sounds like it could be a pretty bad one.”
“They never said what they were chasing him for just came over there and said MSP’s in a chase," Officer Addison said.
“Don’t run from the State Police, you get ****ed up,” another officer said.
Also on video, troopers can be seen attempting CPR on Grimes.
“They tased his a** while he was cruising,” said an officer who walked up to Buckner as he covers her body cam.
Buckner then shuts off her camera.
As the ambulance arrives around 5:37 p.m., the stretcher is wheeled up to Grime’s body while another officer shuts off his body camera.
At this point, Stephenson turns on her body cam.
“Should we give them like an escort or something?” she asks Wade. “Should we give them an escort to St. Johns?”
“For him? Hell no!” Wade said. “They got lights and sirens. We only do that for police. If an officer gets shot we’ll do that.”
“I didn’t know they were chasing a four-wheeler,” said Stephenson.
Damon Grimes was pronounced dead on arrival at St. John’s Hospital.
Due to his insensitive comments, Detroit Police Officer Aubrey Wade was reassigned.
Trooper Mark Bessner, the passenger in the MSP vehicle in pursuit, is accused of breaking protocol and taser use. He is awaiting an August murder trial. He resigned from Michigan State Police.
The Grimes family has filed a $50 million civil suit against Bessner. They have also filed a $75,000 suit again Trooper Ethan Berger, the driver of the MSP pursuit vehicle.