Mistrial in former MSP trooper trial in teen's ATV death after jury deadlock

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A mistrial has been declared in the trial for a former Michigan State police trooper in connection with the death of a teenager on an ATV last summer in Detroit. 

The jury is deadlocked on the case of the death of Damon Grimes. Mark Bessner deployed a Taser on 15-year-old Grimes back in August of 2017, leading to his death. Grimes was on an ATV when he was hit and he crashed into a park car. He died in the crash. 

"They been at it all day today and they have sent out yet another note," the judge said. "It reads 'We have exhausted all conversation, review of the videos, review of the written material and still have a hung jury."

"The family is upset," said Oliver Gantt, the Grimes family spokesperson. "The family is very upset. They should have a retrial, because justice has not been served in this matter. We have people seeing and thinking that police always get off when things occur to young black men."

Police say Bessner and another trooper were pursuing Grimes on a Detroit street. 

Bessner told jurors last week that he believed the teen had a gun, although he admitted that he didn't report that suspicion after the crash. Grimes wasn't armed.

 Richard Covertino, Bessner's attorney, said that Bessner felt "temporary relief" at the mistrial.

"There's no other way to put it," he said. "We are planning for a new trial. 

"Evidence was so difficult, it is such an emotional case. The Grimes family doesn't have peace and a conclusion. I feel for that family greatly."

The former trooper also told jurors that Grimes' behavior was "abnormal" while he was driving the ATV. He said the driver was slowing down and looking back at the troopers. Bessner said that made him think the teen was taunting them or, worse, leading them into a trap. 

Bessner took the stand in his own defense and called the boy's death a "terrible tragedy." He quit the state police job after the incident. He had also been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

A pretrial was schedualed for Nov. 7.