DETROIT – Three police officers were arraigned Thursday morning on charges in connection with three separate brutality cases in Detroit, one of which was deadly.
Now-former Michigan State Police trooper Mark Bessner was arraigned on second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with the death of Damon Grimes, 15. The teen died after crashing his ATV into a parked pickup truck while state police troopers pursued him on Aug. 26. Bessner is accused of firing his Taser out the window of a moving patrol vehicle, striking and shocking Grimes before the crash.
Bessner resigned after being suspended.
Detroit police officer Lonnie Wade was arraigned on assault and two counts of misconduct in office after cellphone video showed a man being beaten in October at a Meijer in Detroit. Wade was in police uniform but working under "secondary employment" as security at the Meijer.
Detroit police officer Richard Billingslea is charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm, aggravated assault, obstruction of justice, misconduct in office and assault and battery in connection with another altercation captured by cellphone video. The video shows officers in a struggle with men at a Mobil gas station in Detroit. One man was pepper-sprayed and beaten by police, which is shown on the cellphone video.
Both Wade and Billingslea are suspended with pay. Detroit Police Chief James Craig said he will be asking the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners to suspend the officers without pay.
All three officers entered not guilty pleas Thursday morning in 36th District Court. Bessner received a $1 million bond, cash or surety. If he is released on bond he is ordered to wear a GPS tether. His next court date is scheduled for Jan. 4.
Wade received a $50,000 bond, or 10 percent. Billingslea received a $50,000 bond, or 10 percent. Both are ordered to wear a GPS tether if they are released on bond. Both are due back in court Jan. 2.
Bessner appeared in court while Wade and Billingslea appeared via video conference from the Wayne County Jail.
From left to right: Damon Grimes; video of the arrest and beating of David Bivins in Detroit; video of the arrest and assault of Michaele Jackson in Detroit. (WDIV)