Support Local Journalism. Donate to Detroit Metro Times.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Detroit cop reassigned after insensitive comments about teen killed in ATV crash

Posted By on Fri, Apr 13, 2018 at 10:54 AM

click to enlarge Damon Grimes, left. Detroit police officer Aubrey Wade, right. - FAMILY PHOTO/DETROIT POLICE
  • Family photo/Detroit police
  • Damon Grimes, left. Detroit police officer Aubrey Wade, right.

A veteran Detroit neighborhood police officer has been taken off patrol duty for making insensitive remarks about a 15-year-old who was killed in an ATV crash after a Michigan State Police trooper chased and tased him.

The Detroit officer has been sidelined following a Free Press investigation into the August 2017 death of Damon Grimes. The news outlet reviewed hours of video footage from the scene of the crash as ex-MSP trooper Mark Bessner prepares to stand trial for murder in the case. In addition to the callous remarks, the paper reported two details that prosecutors may use against Bessner: The trooper is heard admitting to using a stun gun on Grimes and the emergency lights on his cruiser don't appear to activate until a full 24 seconds after the crash.

Let's take these one by one, starting with the veteran Detroit cop who was serving as a Neighborhood Police Officer — a special role occupied by only a few dozen patrolmen and women tasked, ultimately, with gaining the trust of city residents.

This officer, identified by the Freep as Aubrey Wade, stood by as Grimes' lifeless body was pulled into an ambulance. When asked by another Detroit police officer whether a cruiser should escort the ambulance to the hospital, Wade reportedly says "Hell no, if an officer was shot we'll do that."

When told Grimes' mother should go to the hospital, Wade appears to wave off the idea, reportedly saying of the heavy-set teen, "That’s a grown-ass man."

When reminded by his fellow police officer, an Emily Stephenson, that Grimes is 15, Wade reportedly replies that Grimes is "a bad-ass 15.”

The Free Press reports Wade went on to say, "No sympathy at all for bullshit. Motherfucker wanna be grown, ya act grown, you gotta fuckin' deal with it.”

Detroit Police Chief James Craig took Wade off street patrol on Wednesday, telling the Freep he hadn't been aware of the officer's remarks until the paper brought them to his attention.

Wade's statements are cringe-inducing on their own, but even moreso when juxtaposed with the sensitive reactions of other Detroit police officers. The Free Press described other officers present as "disgusted" by what happened. One officer was heard muttering in response to MSP, "His pulse is weakening because he was on that fuckin' thing, and you chased his ass," while another explained, "They fuckin' tased his ass while he was cruisin'."

Bessner deployed the Taser from his moving vehicle, against MSP policy. Now, the possibly late activation of his emergency lights might face scrutiny as well.

The Free Press reports a nearby security camera showed the lights on Bessner's cruiser go on 24 seconds after the crash, as Bessner's partner was already walking away from the vehicle. Until now, State Police and prosecutors have not said whether lights were on during the chase, the paper reports.

State Police policy requires troopers to turn on their emergency lights, sirens and in-car video recording systems during a pursuit.

The agency's chase policy, meanwhile, is less limiting than Detroit's, which says officers can only chase in the event that they suspect a felony has occurred. MSP allows officers to chase at their own discretion, and kept that policy in place for officers patrolling the city of Detroit. That issue was highlighted in our November cover story on Grimes' death.

You can read more about the latest revelations in the case in today's Free Press story.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

Tags: , , , , ,

We’re keeping you informed…
...and it’s what we love to do. From local politics and culture to national news that hits close to home, Metro Times has been keeping Detroit informed for years.

It’s never been more important to support local news sources. A free press means accountability and a well-informed public, and we want to keep our unique and independent reporting available for many, many years to come.

If quality journalism is important to you, please consider a donation to Metro Times. Every reader contribution is valuable and so appreciated, and goes directly to support our coverage of critical issues and neighborhood culture. Thank you.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 1, 2020


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