Family of Detroit ATV rider killed by state trooper reaches $12-million settlement

December 27, 2019, 5:53 PM

The family of a 15-year-old ATV rider who was killed when a state police trooper tased him has settled a lawsuit for $12 million, media outlets report.

State Police Trooper Mark Bessner caused Damon Grimes to crash when he stunned him during an August 2017 chase. Grimes had been riding his ATV down a neighborhood street on Detroit's east side and refused orders to stop.

Michigan State Police policy prohibits troopers from deploying a Taser from a moving vehicle, and Bessner was fired and sentenced to 5-15 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. The driver of the cruiser was fired as well.

Grimes' family sued both troopers and a state police lieutenant for $50 million. 

According to the Detroit Free Press, the Grimes family will get to get about $8 million in the settlement announced Friday. Much of the remaining $4 million will go to lawyers from Geoffrey Fieger's firm, which represented the family.

“I am sad for the family; no amount of money is going to make up for it," attorney Fieger said Friday. "But it’s a substantial enough of a settlement that it really sends a message to the citizens and the police that this kind of behavior is intolerable.”

A state police spokesman issued this statement:

"The Michigan State Police extends its continued condolences to the Grimes family, friends and supporters. Damon Grimes’ death is a tragedy that could have been avoided if not for the criminal and unforgivable actions of a former MSP trooper.

"The MSP recognizes that while this monetary settlement does not change how this has affected the Grimes family, it may help to begin to bring some closure. The MSP sincerely apologizes to everyone impacted by this senseless act, and we have prioritized working with our troopers and the community to avoid this from happening again."

Read more:  The Detroit News

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