DETROIT (WWJ) – A former Michigan State Police trooper is headed to trial on murder charges in the death of a teen following a chase in Detroit.
A lawyer representing 43-year-old Mark Bessner asked the judge to waive a preliminary hearing on Thursday.
Attorney Richard Convertino explained the reason for waiving the hearing: “We wanna get on with it, get on to Circuit Court, have it tried and move on,” he told WWJ’s Mike Campbell and other reporters.
Convertino said his client, who made a brief appearance in District Court in Detroit, has posted a $1 million, 10 percent bond and remains free pending an arraignment on the information, set for two weeks from now.
According to State Police, on August 26, 2017, troopers assigned to the MSP Metro South Post, Detroit Secure Cities Partnership attempted to stop 15-year-old Damon Grimes for recklessly driving his 4-wheel all-terrain vehicle, or ATV. The troopers activated their emergency lights and siren, but Grimes refused to stop, police said, leading troopers in a pursuit.
At some point during the chase, police say Bessner deployed a Taser, striking the teen. At Gratiot Ave. and Rossini, Grimes lost control of the ATV, driving off the roadway and onto the sidewalk before crashing into a parked pickup truck. The teen died of his injuries at a local hospital.
In announcing the charges , Wayne County Prosecutor Worthy said Bessner was found to be at fault for the crash, having deployed his Taser “without legal justification or excuse.”
Convertino has said the trooper “was forced to make a split-second decision under circumstances,” while MSP officials have said what Bessner did was contrary to department protocol. He has since resigned from the police force.
Bessner is due back in court on Thursday, February 15.
A $50 million civil lawsuit by the Grimes family is pending against Bessner, accusing him of excessive force.