On Aug. 26, 2017, 15-year-old Damon Grimes was involved in a police pursuit while driving an ATV. That pursuit ended in a crash on Detroit’s east side that claimed Grimes’ life.
Using the Freedom of Information Act, 25-hours worth of video from police body cameras and dash cameras, surveillance video and cellphone video shot by witnesses were released that tell the story of the senseless death.
They would not provide footage from the dash cam of the pursuit by MSP Troopers, Mark Bessner and Ethan Berger.
At 5:31 p.m., the video shows Damon Grimes riding his ATV down Rossini Avenue and Gratiot in Detroit.
Bessner requests priority to chase an ATV. “He flipped. Flipped!” said Detroit Police Officer Williams on the radio.
“Yup, tell them there’s an accident,” said DPD Officer Boersman, who was first on the scene.
Grimes hit a parked Ford F-150 with his ATV and he flew off the four-wheeler.
“He’s got a pulse and he’s breathing,” said Bessner.
“0-9, he’s slowed down, we tased him and he crashed out. Have EMS step it up,” said Bessner.
“He’s got a pulse,” Bessner said.
As Detroit Police Officer Kimberly Buckner heads to the scene in his squad car, you can hear radio chatter from MSP: “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," said Officer Addison.
“Don’t run from the State Police, you get f---ed up,” said one officer.
Also on video, troopers can be seen attempting CPR on Grimes.
“His pulse is weakening, what’s our ETA?” is heard on dispatch.
“They tased his ass 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 arrived around 5:37 p.m., the stretcher is wheeled up to Grimes' 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 DPD Officer Aubrey Wade. “Should we give them an escort to St. Johns?”
“For him? Hell no!” said Wade.
“They got lights and sirens. We only do that for police,” he said. “If an officer gets shot we’ll do that.”
“I didn’t know they were chasing a four-wheeler,” said Stephenson.
Grimes was pronounced dead on arrival at St. John’s Hospital.
Due to his insensitive comments, Wade was reassigned.
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 against Trooper Ethan Berger, the driver of the MSP pursuit vehicle.