Tension simmers at vigil for teen who died in ATV crash in MSP chase

- Wednesday night's vigil had tense moments as a crowd faced off with police.

A few hundred people gathered to remember Damon Grimes, the 15 year old who died after crashing his ATV while a Michigan State Police Trooper chased him on Detroit's east side.

"A good kid," said Kimberly Powell, Damon's aunt. "A life gone too soon."

At one point during the vigil a group of people on ATVs did donuts and popped wheelies in the middle of Gratiot right off of Rossini.  When a Detroit police officer arrived on the scene, some from the crowd jumped on the trunk of the police cruiser, prompting a face-off.

"You do have agitators no matter what crowd you engage," said Elvin Barren, Detroit police deputy police chief. "The majority of the people were not verbally abusive to the Detroit Police Department. A lot of them were in compliance. A few agitators, but they did comply."

The anger on display, while misguided, is understandable. Michigan State Police say the trooper in question shocked Grimes with a Taser while trying to get the teen off the road - a violation of state police policy.

"My understanding is he has, may have a series of incidents that have followed him around," said attorney Geoffrey Fieger, who is representing the family. "So the situation is not an isolated incident."

"From my understanding they said this is his third offense of something like this," said the victim's mom, Monique Grimes. "So I don't know how he's supposed to be here to protect and serve."

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Grimes' family filed a $50 million lawsuit against that state trooper. The Detroit Police Department is investigating the crash and Chief James Craig said in a press conference Monday, there's no benefit in starting high speed chases for low level crimes.

"I thank him for the statements (he gave)," Grimes said. "But it is different between Detroit police and state troopers."

"When you have police officers who cannot relate to the people of the community, who do not understand the people of the community, you get stuff like this which is very unfortunate, very tragic," said social activist Zeek, with New Era Detroit. "We're not standing for that - not in this city."

Detroit police say that New Era Detroit Damon's family helped quell the tension at the vigil. A protest in front of the Michigan State Police post is planned for later in the week.
 

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