Fam­ily lawyer fights state for info in ATV death

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY GE­ORGE HUNTER The Detroit News

An at­tor­ney for the fam­ily of Da­mon Grimes, the 15-year-old ATV driver who died in a crash af­ter a state po­lice crew chased him and stunned him with a Taser, claimed Tues­day the state is with­hold­ing in­for­ma­tion in a fed­eral law­suit.

A lawyer for the Michi­gan At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice, which is rep­re­sent­ing the state po­lice in the Aug. 26 in­ci­dent, coun­tered the mat­ter should be put on hold for 90 days to al­low Wayne County prose­cu­tors to de­cide whether to charge the troop­ers with crimes.

Mean­while, U.S. District Judge Gersh­win A. Drain ques­tioned why two crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Grimes’ death are tak­ing so long.

“I’m a lit­tle dis­turbed about the de­lay in get­ting a de­ci­sion on pros­e­cu­tion,” Drain said dur­ing a hear­ing Tues­day. “It’s not that com­pli­cated of a case. It’s pretty straight­for­ward. The con­vo­luted.”

Detroit po­lice and

facts are not


po­lice launched sep­a­rate crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions af­ter Grimes’ death. State po­lice say Grimes was driv­ing his ATV il­le­gally in the street and did not com­ply with their or­ders to stop.

Trooper Ethan Berger, who drove the po­lice cruiser, chased Grimes. At one point dur­ing the pur­suit, Berger’s part­ner, Mark Bess­ner, de­ployed his Taser, hit­ting Grimes, who plowed into a flatbed and died from blunt-force head in­juries.

As­sis­tant Wayne County Pros­e­cu­tor Maria Miller said in an email Tues­day: “The Wayne County Pros­e­cu­tor’s Of­fice has not re­ceived the com­pleted in­ves­ti­ga­tions from DPD and MSP yet. Un­til that hap­pens we are not in a po­si­tion to be­gin our in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion and re­view of this case.”

But Detroit Po­lice Chief James Craig said Tues­day his de­tec­tives turned over the re­sults of their in­ves­ti­ga­tion “three or four weeks ago.”

“Dur­ing a brief­ing last week, we were told (prose­cu­tors) are wait­ing for some foren­sic anal­y­sis to be re­turned, and they’re do­ing their own in­ter­views of wit­nesses,” Craig said. “But as far as we’re con­cerned, we’ve turned the file over to them.”


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