3 Michigan officers face assault charges in separate incidents

Three Michigan police officers face assault charges in separate incidents, one of which resulted in ...

Posted: Dec 22, 2017 10:18 AM
Updated: Dec 22, 2017 10:18 AM

Three Michigan police officers face assault charges in separate incidents, one of which resulted in the death of a 15-year-old, according to the prosecutor's office.

State Trooper Mark Bessner and Detroit officers Lonnie Wade and Richard Billingslea were arraigned on Thursday in a Wayne County court.

The three officers were arraigned in a Wayne County courtroom on Thursday

They each pleaded not guilty to their respective charges

Kym Worthy, the Wayne County prosecutor, detailed the allegations against the officers in a statement sent to CNN on Thursday.

A fourth man, a former Detroit police officer, has also been charged with assaulting a Detroit resident after a foot chase in August 2016.

"Overwhelmingly most police officers are good, hard-working and honest people," Worthy said in the statement. "However, the four officers that we charge today in four separate incidents allegedly killed one young man riding on an ATV and brutally beat down three others."

"This behavior cannot be tolerated and seriously undermines the good work that most police officers do on a daily basis," she said.

Attorneys for the officers could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday.

Mark Bessner

Bessner, 43, faces charges of second degree murder and two charges of involuntary manslaughter in the death of 15-year-old Damon Grimes, according to the prosecutor's office.

Grimes was riding an ATV in Detroit when Bessner -- who was the passenger in the patrol car -- and his partner noticed him and attempted to pull him over for a traffic violation, the statement said. But Grimes led the officers on a pursuit.

During the chase, Bessner allegedly fired a Taser at Grimes while the ATV was moving at 35 to 40 mph, according to the prosecutor's statement.

Read more: Controversial Police Encounters Fast Facts

When he was struck, Grimes crashed the ATV into a parked truck and was taken to a hospital, where he later died.

Bessner was suspended and later resigned, according to CNN affiliate WDIV.

He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Thursday, WDIV reported.

Lonnie Wade

Wade, 65, was charged on Thursday with assault with intent to do great bodily harm, felonious assault and two counts of misconduct in office, Worthy's office said.

On October 10, Wade was in uniform while assigned at a Meijer grocery store in Detroit as part of an approved secondary employment job when he approached David Bivins, 23, and asked about some of the shopping bags in his cart, the news release said.

Wade allegedly asked to see a receipt, and Bivins' girlfriend showed it to him before taking the bags back to the store to return the items because she was upset by the encounter with Wade, the statement said.

Wade and Bivins got into an argument, and when Bivins took out a cellphone, the release said, Wade "grabbed his wrist, telling him he was under arrest."

When Bivins tried to resist, Wade took out his baton and allegedly began striking Bivins, who didn't show "any aggressive behavior," the prosecutor's statement notes.

Wade allegedly hit Bivens in the head and face, causing "serious" injuries. The encounter was captured on video by a civilian witness.

Wade pleaded not guilty on Thursday.

Richard Billingslea

Billingslea, 25, faces charges in the assault of two people at a Detroit gas station.

According to the prosecutor, Billingslea became "involved in a verbal exchange" with 39-year-old Michaele Jackson that soon "escalated into an assault during which Jackson was pepper-sprayed and beaten."

D'Marco Craft, a friend of Jackson's who was known to Billingslea, recorded the assault on his cellphone, the release said. After another officer who responded to the scene took the cellphone, Billingslea threw the phone in a trashcan inside the gas station.

Billingslea faces a number of charges, including assault with intent to commit great bodily harm, aggravated assault and obstruction of justice.

Billingslea also pleaded not guilty on Thursday.

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