Ex-trooper charged in Detroit teen's ATV death was involved in 40 use-of-force incidents, report says 

Ex-trooper Mark Bessner during his Michigan State Trooper graduation in 2012. - MICHIGAN STATE POLICE FACEBOOK PAGE
  • Michigan State Police Facebook page
  • Ex-trooper Mark Bessner during his Michigan State Trooper graduation in 2012.

The state police trooper who last year chased and tased a Detroit teen riding an ATV, leading the boy to crash and die, had reportedly been involved in 40 use-of-force incidents in the less than four years before the episode on Detroit's east side.

Let that sink in for a moment. Forty use of force incidents. The jaw-dropping discovery is the subject of a newly published investigation by the Detroit Free Press. Additional findings from the paper include that ex-trooper Mark Bessner had been disciplined previously for misusing his Taser and, in a separate incident, chasing a citizen without activating his emergency lights, sirens, or recording equipment.

Sound familiar? That’s because Bessner last August allegedly electro-shocked 15-year-old Damon Grimes in violation of department policy, which says officers can’t deploy a Taser from a moving vehicle. Bessner was chasing Grimes for riding an ATV through a Detroit neighborhood. A separate Free Press investigation revealed last week that Bessner also did not appear to activate his emergency lights until 24 seconds after the teen crashed.

“It doesn’t sound like he should be a police officer,” a criminologist who specializes in police pursuits tells the paper.

In addition to the 40 use-of-force incidents, the Freep reports Bessner was involved in 17 pursuits and five accidents in the four years before he confronted Grimes.

You can read the full article on Bessner’s tumultuous time as a police officer here.

Bessner resigned last year. He’s charged with second-degree murder in Grimes’ death. His trial is set for Aug. 20.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 26, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2022 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation