Autopsy released of teen tased in fatal ATV chase with police

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Damon Grimes

The family of Damon Grimes got one step closer to closure in the death the 15-year-old Detroit teen.

An autopsy report released by the Wayne County Medical Examiner Friday revealed the boy was tased from behind as he was trying to get away from an officer.

"It’s been a nightmare we can't wake up from," said Kim Powell.

The specifics are graphic, but this family has been wading through them every day since Aug. 26th.

Damon Grimes' aunt Kim Powell was there that night when the 15-year-old crashed his ATV as Michigan State Police tried to pull him over.

"It's a tragedy and a tragedy that could have been prevented," Powell said. "And every day we wake up, we're living it."

The medical examiner's take was that Grimes died because of "blunt force trauma to the head" when he flew off the ATV he was driving.

Activists and the community with Grimes' family on why they believe this happened:

The Taser allegedly fired by trooper Mark Bessner as Damon was fleeing on his ATV.

"Shot from the back," Powell said. "That's showing why we couldn't have an open casket that is showing why he was so messed up. That's unbelievable."

The autopsy puts to rest one question - was the Taser fired? The answer, definitively, yes.

The ME found a "conducted electrical weapon embedded" in Damon's hair on the back left side of his head and skin on the left side of the lower back.

"I prayed that the truth came out," Powell said. "And nothing is higher than our God and our God is bringing the truth out. The only thing we want is justice."

The accident left abrasions and lacerations on much of his face, his skull dislocated from his vertebral column with contusions and abrasions on other parts of his body.

"Knowing that the law - that's the reason my brother is gone," said Dezanique Grimes, Damon's sister. "Because of the law, and you are supposed to be here to serve and protect us. And you can't give us any information."

The results were released on the same day a hearing was held to find out if there was "destruction of evidence" in plain terms, questions about whether someone on the scene removed part of the Taser.

It is something Damon's family says they believe happened.

"That is murder," Powell said. "And everyone who is involved and everyone who did the cover-up, needs to be charged too."

The medical examiner also ruling grime's case an accident and according to the report, there were no drugs or alcohol in his system.

Bessner resigned Sept. 22 and could still face criminal charges, while two other state police employees involved in the incident were suspended. Bessner had been suspended amid an ongoing investigation.

Michigan State Police said that investigators believe the evidence supports criminal charges. The decision of whether to file charges will ultimately be made by the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office. 

Bessner's attorney has said the trooper had to make a "split-second decision" under tough circumstances. Grimes's death prompted protests in the city and a $50 million lawsuit from his family. Prosecutors will review the case for possible charges.

State police have also suspended patrols in the 9th Precinct on Detroit's east side, where they'd been since 2012 as part of the state's Secure Cities Partnership. The area is considered a high-crime portion of Detroit.

There is dashcam of the incident but Grimes' family attorney Geoffrey Fieger says until he sees it, he's hesitant to call what happened a police chase.

"What I can only describe as a drive by shooting of a child on an ATV," he said. "Under no circumstances should no police officer ever at any time, any place, anywhere, shoot like a cowboy out of his vehicle which is my understanding of what he did," he said. "It had to be at or equal to where Desmond was to shoot him out of the window. It couldn't have been much of a chase."


Autopsy Report - Teen who died in ATV chase by David Komer on Scribd