ATV death

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State po­lice sub­mit­ted their in­ves­ti­ga­tion last month, but pros­e­cu­tors re­turned it for fur­ther work.

“The MSP is fully com­mit­ted to con­duct­ing a thor­ough and com­plete in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” state po­lice spokes­woman Shanon Ban­ner said. “To that end, we’ve worked very closely with the Wayne County Pros­e­cu­tor’s Of­fice to en­sure they have all the in­for­ma­tion they may need to make a charg­ing de­ter­mi­na­tion. Our fo­cus in this case, as in all cases, is to con­duct the in­ves­ti­ga­tion in the most ex­pe­di­tious man­ner pos­si­ble.”

Four days af­ter Grimes’ death, South­field at­tor­ney Ge­of­frey Fieger filed a $50 mil­lion law­suit against Bess­ner. Fieger later filed a suit against Berger, seek­ing more than $75,000 in dam­ages.

Dur­ing Tues­day’s fed­eral court hear­ing, Fieger Law at­tor­ney Gina Puz­zuoli said state po­lice “bla­tantly refuse to pro­vide any in­for­ma­tion in this case. This whole case is shrouded in se­crecy. We had to fight to just get the names of the peo­ple in­volved. “The state has fought us at ev­ery step,” she said. Puz­zuoli also said her of­fice has been un­able to serve Bess­ner with a sub­poena to ap­pear for ques­tion­ing be­cause he won’t an­swer his door. Puz­zuoli said process servers taped a no­tice on Bess­ner’s door and posted an item in the Detroit Le­gal News, to no avail. “We don’t know where he is,” she said. Bess­ner, Berger and a sergeant who re­moved a Taser wire from the crime scene, ac­cord­ing to Detroit po­lice sources, were all sus­pended af­ter the in­ci­dent. Bess­ner later re­signed. The sergeant was iden­ti­fied in a court fil­ing as Ja­cob Liss.

John Fe­dyn­sky of the Michi­gan At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice filed a mo­tion Tues­day to pre­vent Grimes’ at­tor­neys from get­ting more in­for­ma­tion about the case un­til a de­ci­sion is made whether to charge Bess­ner, Berger or Liss with crimes.

Fe­dyn­sky asked Drain to put the law­suit on hold for 90 days to give pros­e­cu­tors time to de­cide whether to bring crim­i­nal charges against the troop­ers.

Grimes’ at­tor­neys have sub­poe­naed the court for in­for­ma­tion about the case. They also filed a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act re­quest for the same in­for­ma­tion.

Fe­dyn­sky in­sisted Fieger filed the ini­tial law­suit too soon to al­low crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions to take place, and said re­leas­ing in­for­ma­tion could taint the in­quiries.

“The court should stay this civil case en­tirely pend­ing the crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” Fe­dyn­sky said. “We’re ask­ing the court to quash the sub­poena (seek­ing in­for­ma­tion in the case) and stay the case pend­ing the pros­e­cu­tors’ de­ci­sion.”

Drain said he would rule on the state’s mo­tion within a week.

Wayne State Uni­ver­sity law pro­fes­sor Peter Hen­ning, a for­mer fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor, said it’s not un­usual for judges to grant re­quests to with­hold in­for­ma­tion in a civil case un­til the crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions play out.

“Gen­er­ally, the po­lice au­thor­i­ties want to com­plete the crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions be­fore al­low­ing civil dis­cov­ery,” Hen­ning said. “Judges are wor­ried some­one could use civil dis­cov­ery to taint the crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“I can see why the state is re­quest­ing (the 90-day stay),” Hen­ning said. “Dis­cov­ery is broader in a civil case than in a crim­i­nal case. For in­stance, you can’t de­pose some­one in a crim­i­nal mat­ter, but you can in a civil case.

“Also, be­cause these are po­lice of­fi­cers, they may be re­quired by in­ter­nal rules to give a state­ment in the crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” he said. “But if they’re called to tes­tify in the civil case, they might well as­sert their Fifth Amend­ment rights. But if the plain­tiffs in the civil suit get ahold of that state­ment, they can use it against the of­fi­cers.” they are wor­ried about chil­dren pass­ing the jail on their way to school. Some are also fear­ful of pris­on­ers es­cap­ing or be­ing re­leased into their com­mu­nity.

Coun­cil­woman Mary Sh­effield said dur­ing a re­cent neigh­bor­hood meet­ing that she was against it. She said Tues­day that the “over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity don’t want it in their com­mu­nity.”

Res­i­dents, she said, are will­ing to work on com­pro­mises. But, “there have been no con­crete so­lu­tions” on how to ad­dress traf­fic, school chil­dren and se­cu­rity.

“I have an is­sue with that,” Sh­effield said.

If the coun­cil signs off on it next week, the agree­ment still will need to gain ap­proval of the Wayne County Com­mis­sion and the Wayne County Land Bank Board.

Wayne County also con­tin­ues to await In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice ap­proval to use the ex­ist­ing jail bonds on the DDOT site in­stead of the Gra­tiot prop­erty. Jim Martinez, a spokesman for County Ex­ec­u­tive War­ren Evans, said the project can’t pro­ceed un­til those bonds are ap­proved.

Gil­bert’s plan calls for a 2,280- bed jail, court­house, pros­e­cu­tor of­fices, sher­iff ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fices and a ju­ve­nile de­ten­tion fa­cil­ity.

In ex­change for the com­plex, Gil­bert’s Rock Ven­tures wants to use the county’s un­fin­ished jail site in Greek­town for a mixed-use de­vel­op­ment. It has piv­oted from plans to erect a soc­cer sta­dium at the site in hopes of at­tract­ing an MLS team. In­stead, Ford Field is now the pre­ferred site for a fu­ture soc­cer fran­chise.

The county would be re­spon­si­ble for $380 mil­lion, plus the cost of ac­quir­ing the land from

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