Ex-Trooper Convicted For Killing Teen By Tasing Him Off Moving ATV

Former Michigan State Police Trooper Mark Bessner faces up to 15 years in prison for the death of Damon Grimes.

Detroit, MI – A former Michigan State Police (MSP) trooper been convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the Taser-related death of a 15-year-old boy who tried to flee from him on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV).

The fatal altercation occurred in August of 2017, while then-MSP Trooper Mark Bessner and his partner were pursuing 15-year-old Damon Grimes as he tried to evade them on his ATV, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Operating ATVs on Detroit’s residential streets is illegal, WXYZ reported.

Trooper Bessner, who was riding in the passenger seat of the patrol vehicle, said that Grimes fumbled with his waistband twice during the chase, and that he believed the teen was reaching for a gun.

The trooper responded by deploying his Taser, striking him.

Grimes then slammed into a parked pickup truck, and suffered fatal blunt-force trauma injuries to his head, WXYZ reported.

During his trial, the 44-year-old former trooper testified that he initially believed he was doing the right thing by tasing Grimes during the chase.

"I thought it was at the time," Bessner said. "I know now, it was a terrible decision."

He said he was shocked when he realized Grimes didn’t have a weapon, and said he did not realize the suspect was a teenager when he deployed his Taser.

"All I could think of was this family lost their son," Bessner testified. "And all I could think of was my daughter and what they must be going through. I can't bring Mr. Grimes back and I can't fix my family."

Bessner resigned from the MSP in the wake of Grimes’ death, and was ultimately charged with second-degree murder, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Prosecutors said he had also previously been reprimanded for misusing his Taser and violating department procedures.

During his first trial in 2018, the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict, the Detroit Free Press reported.

A second jury convicted him of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter after one day of deliberations.

“Today, former trooper Mark Bessner was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Damon Grimes of Detroit,” the MSP said in a press release on April 17, according to WXYZ.

“The Michigan State Police appreciates the careful deliberation of the men and women of the jury and we are grateful to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office for their dedication to justice,” the statement read. “We send our sincere condolences to the family, friends and supporters of Damon Grimes."

The MSP had previously denounced the former trooper’s actions, and said he “undisputedly acted outside M.S.P. policy and training,” The New York Times reported.

“The jury made a strong statement today about the defendant’s criminal actions,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement. “I want to thank this jury, and it is my earnest hope that this verdict brings some small semblance of peace to the Grimes family.”

Grimes’ family spokesperson Oliver Gantt said that the family was “somewhat satisfied” by the verdict, The Detroit News reported.

“I know they want him to have some jail time,” Gantt added. “It’s a sense of justice.”

The teen’s mother, Monique Grimes, has also filed a $50 million lawsuit against Bessner, according to The Detroit News.

A hearing in that matter is scheduled to take place on Wednesday.

Bessner was taken into custody after the jury rendered its decision, and is due back in court for sentencing on Thursday, according to WXYZ.

He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, the Detroit Free Press reported.

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It's funny how the person really responsible for the outcome, is now thought of as the victim.


This is one time that I'll reserve judgement. I think this former officer did the wrong thing, but I don't think he had any intention of killing young Damon Grimes. This former officer actually showed some remorse for his actions. I hope the court shows some degree of leniency, but he shouldn't get off completely.


Condolences to the family of both the boy and the former trooper. These types of things are never good for any side of the law. But if you run, you are making a choice where you have to pay to play. Just comply, then everyone’s well being will be in tact.


While the kid shouldn’t have run, why would he taze him while he was riding an ATV, you gotta know the outcome is not going to be good. I’m sure he wasn’t thinking the kid could get killed but seems pretty negligent.


I think it's sad for everyone involved. Police have to make quick decisions and sometimes they are wrong. We are all human. Yes, there are really bad actions on both sides in many of these cases. This one is kind of a grey area, if the cop really thought the guy had a gun.


A pack of these rotten ATV boys surrounded my elderly mother on Fort Street as she was driving her Cadillac. They had her surrounded on four sides, signaling to each other. She thinks they relented because of her Onstar. She was terrified and I'm grateful she's fine.

Where do you think they got the funds to buy these ATV's? Jacking cars!

That day, the little piece of crap that this officer saved us from was one of those scary thugs. He was one of the ATV kids forcing her off the road. I wish my mother would have reported this and testified.

Thank you, officer, and I'm sorry. You are a TRUE HERO!!!!!!!!

Glad that piece of crap is DEAD. I'll think of you from time to time and smile.