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Detroit pastors demand charges against MSP trooper in death of teen on ATV

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Posted at 4:47 PM, Aug 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-31 19:27:00-04

Two local pastors are demanding charges against Michigan State Police Trooper Mark Bessner, who is now at the center of the case of a Detroit teen who crashed and died after being tased on an ATV.

Bessner has been accused of using excessive force before.

“Dismiss this guy and bring charges of murder for what he has done as a rogue cop,” says the Reverend W.J. Rideout III.

Trooper Bessner s accused of crossing the line Saturday when, from the passenger seat of a patrol car, he hit 15-year-old Damon Grimes with a Taser during a pursuit.

The teen crashed and died. 

Defense attorney Rick Convertino says he's now representing Trooper Bessner and that their thoughts and prayers are with Damon’s family and friends.

He went on to say that the teen, "recklessly and dangerously drove an ATV as he actively resisted and evaded arrested (and) during the pursuit (he says) Trooper Bessner was forced to make a split-second decision under circumstances on the scene and at the moment which were tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving.  “

“Was he wrong for not stopping, absolutely?,“ says Ridebout. “But was he wrong enough to be killed, to be tased while driving? Absolutely not.

“You should not die because of a misdemeanor or civil infraction or traffic violation,” says David Alexander Bullock.

Trooper Bessner has been sued twice before for allegedly using excessive force.. In one case a man claimed Bessner and several other troopers mistook a phone for a gun and that Bessner repeatedly struck his body and kneed him in his face and head multiple times while he was defenseless on the ground.

Reverends W.J. Rideout and David Bullock are now calling for charges to quickly be brought against Bessner.

“There shouldn’t have to be an angry response in the streets before people in the suites make us whole,” says Bullock.

It's unclear when Detroit Police and Michigan State Police will present to prosecutors the results of their separate investigations.

Trooper Bessner remains suspended with pay.