Jury still debating trial of trooper charged in Detroit teen's tasing death

The jury in the case of a former Michigan State Police trooper who fired his Taser from a moving car at a 15-year-old who was driving an all-terrain vehicle at high speed without a helmet is still debating his fate.

The jury met Tuesday morning to deliberate if Mark Bessner would be convicted in Damon Grimes' death. Around 12:30 p.m., the jury informed the judge they could not reach a decision. The judge ordered the jury to take a lunch break and reconvene to try and reach a decision. 

The jury returned and continued to deliberate through the afternoon. By 3:45, they still had not reached a decision and were sent home for the second day.

A prosecutor urged jurors on Monday to convicted Bessner, saying it defied "common sense" when he shot the taser at the boy.

Grimes, who was black, crashed the ATV and died after he was struck by Bessner's Taser. The August 2017 incident on a Detroit street caused the state police to change its policy and stop high-speed chases for routine traffic offenses.

Bessner, who is white, is charged with second-degree murder. Jurors also can choose involuntary manslaughter. Bessner quit the state police after Grimes' death.

"Common sense tells you no one on God's green earth thinks it's a good idea to shoot a Taser at someone who's not wearing a helmet, who's going that fast. ... Was that reasonable? The answer is no," assistant prosecutor Matthew Penney said in his closing argument.

Bessner, who has a history of questionable Taser use, fired the immobilizing weapon from the passenger seat of a moving patrol car. At one point, his partner was driving at 61 mph.

Bessner last week told jurors that he believed Grimes had a gun. The teen wasn't armed.

Defense attorney Richard Convertino urged jurors to put themselves in Bessner's shoes at the time and not use "20-20 hindsight." He acknowledged that Grimes' death was an "unspeakable tragedy."

"Maybe this was a joyride. Maybe it was exciting. Maybe it was fun. Fifteen-year-old boys do those kinds of things," Convertino said. "Trooper Bessner at the time didn't know any of that. He had no idea what was in the mind of Damon Grimes."

State police officials supported the Wayne County prosecutor's decision to charge Bessner in the death.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.