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Prosecutors Want Jury To Hear About Trooper's Use Of Taser

June 08, 2018 - 7:14 am

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - Prosecutors want jurors to hear about a state trooper's use of force when he faces trial in the Taser-related death of a Detroit teen.

Mark Bessner is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Damon Grimes. The 15-year-old was shot with a Taser while driving an ATV. He crashed and died.

The Wayne County Prosecutor's office wants to use evidence that Bessner used a Taser on civilians in several other cases who were not unruly.

A judge will hear arguments Friday in the case.

In addition to Grimes' death, prosecutors list four other incidents involving Bessner deploying a Taser, sometimes when the targets were handcuffed. One man, Forrest Harvey III, says Bessner shot him with a Taser just weeks before the fatal crash, also while he was riding an ATV.

State police wanted to suspend Bessner for 10 days for firing his Taser twice at a handcuffed man who was running away in 2016. But an arbitrator said there was no “just cause” for discipline. 

In 2014, Bessner fired his Taser at a suspect who was handcuffed. He agreed to a five-day suspension, records show, but four days were eventually dropped. It apparently was his first case of misconduct.

Bessner resigned from the police force following Grimes' death.

A $50 million civil lawsuit by the Grimes family is pending against Bessner, accusing him of excessive force.