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Prosecutor Worthy Charges Police Officers with
Murder, Misconduct and Other Charges

Statement of Prosecutor Worthy

Overwhelmingly most police officers are good, hard working, and honest people. 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.

Michigan State Trooper Charged in ATV Fatal Crash

Michigan State Police Trooper Mark Bessner, 43, (DOB: 03/27/1974) has been charged in connection with a fatal ATV crash that killed Damon Grimes, 15, of Detroit. On August 26, 2017, Bessner was the passenger in a Michigan State Police (MSP) patrol car when Bessner and his partner observed a four-wheel All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) being driven by Grimes down Reno and Fairmont Streets in Detroit. When the troopers attempted to stop Grimes for a traffic violation, a pursuit ensued.At approximately 5:31 p.m. on Rossini Street, it is alleged that Bessner unnecessarily deployed his Taser at Grimes from the MSP patrol car while Grimes was riding at approximately 35 to 40 miles per hour. Grimes was struck by the Taser's prongs and then his ATV crashed into a truck parked on the street in the 14500 block of Rossini. Grimes was transported to a local hospital and pronounced dead at 5:58 p.m.

Defendant Bessner has been charged with Second Degree Murder, which carries a maximum penalty of any term of years up to life in prison.*

Bessner is charged with one count of Involuntary Manslaughter (Misdemeanor Manslaughter), which carries a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison.*

Bessner is also charged with one count of Involuntary Manslaughter (Gross Negligence) which carries a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison.*

Bessner will be arraigned on December 21, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. in 36th District Court.

*The charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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Police Officer Lonnie Wade Charged
in Assault of Detroit Man at Meijer

Detroit Police Officer Lonnie Wade, 65, has been charged in connection with the assault of David Bivins, 23, of Detroit, at a Meijer Store in Detroit. On the evening of October 10, 2017, Officer Wade was in a DPD uniform while working secondary employment* at a Meijer store located in the 1300 block of Eight Mile in Detroit. At approximately 8:40 p.m., Wade approached Bivins in the vestibule of the store to inquire about shopping bags in Bivins' cart. It is alleged that when Wade asked to see a receipt, Bivins indicated that his girlfriend had it. Shortly thereafter, his girlfriend showed Wade the receipt. Upset by the encounter, she then took the bags and walked back into the store to return the items.

Wade remained with Bivins in the vestibule and the two had a verbal exchange. Bivins pulled out a cell phone, then Wade came over to him and grabbed his wrist, telling him he was under arrest. Bivins pulled away to resist Wade's attempts to place him under arrest. Wade quickly deployed his baton and began striking Bivins. Bivins does not show any aggressive behavior in the video, even when he is struck by the baton.

The two men moved from the store to the parking lot where Bivins continued to pull away from Wade and ask why he was under arrest. Wade tells Bivins he is being arrested for Disorderly Conduct. It is alleged that he struck Bivens in the head and face with his baton causing Bivins to suffer serious injuries. The incident was video recorded by a civilian witness and observed by other civilian onlookers.

Defendant Wade has been charged with Assault with Intent to Do Great Bodily Harm, Felonious Assault, and two counts of Misconduct in Office.**

Wade will be arraigned on December 21, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. in 36th District Court.

* DPD Secondary Employment - 103.5 - 1 - Purpose The Detroit City Council has enacted an ordinance that authorizes the establishment of a Secondary Employment Program for sworn members of the Detroit Police Department (DPD). The purpose of this policy is to provide rules, regulations, and procedures for the implementation of the Secondary Employment Program in accordance with Section 43-2-11 et seq., of the Detroit City Code. Members must be remindful that working the Secondary Employment Program is that of a privilege and not a right.
103.5 - 3.2 - Definition - Secondary Employment
Employment of a law enforcement nature in which vested police powers is a condition of employment whereby the member is employed and paid by a secondary employer for work at an assigned location within the City of Detroit pursuant to an approved agreement that is managed through the department's Secondary Employment Office.
**The charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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Warrant Denial in the Fatal Shooting of Raynard Burton

Facts of the Fatal Shooting

On February 13, 2017 at approximately after 1:00 p.m., DPD officers Jerold Blanding, 47, and his partner Michael Davis, were on patrol in the 10th precinct in full uniform and a fully marked scout car. They observed a speeding green Pontiac Bonneville on Broadstreet Avenue and then pursued it, intending to perform a traffic stop. During the brief pursuit, the vehicle pulled away from them, turning onto Elmhurst. From a distance, officers saw the vehicle crash near Elmhurst Auto, a business on the corner of Broadstreet and Elmhurst.

As Officer Blanding and Officer Davis approached the corner, the sole occupant of the car, later identified as Raynard Burton, 19, of Detroit, ran from the driver's side of the vehicle. Both officers exited the scout car. Burton ignored the officers' commands to stop and ran east on Elmhurst, past an alley, and then south on North Martindale. Davis lost sight of Burton when he ran between two houses towards Webb and Otsego.While Officer Davis was on foot, he saw Blanding drive past him in the scout car, southbound on North Martindale. Davis heard Blanding over his prep radio indicate that Burton was running south so Davis ran in that direction, but lost sight of Burton. Davis proceeded towards Webb, and heard Blanding say he was right behind him, at Otsego and Webb. Davis continued to run toward the location and, as he approached the corner of Otsego and Webb, he heard a single gunshot. He did not hear any words exchanged between Blanding and Burton when the shot went off.

Officer Davis found Officer Blanding and Burton in the rear of a vacant house in the 4760 block of Webb. There was a collapsed garage and a great deal of overgrown brush and debris. He was informed by Officer Blanding that he and Burton wrestled and that Burton tried to grab for his gun as he was trying to holster it and that Blanding discharged one shot. After the shooting, Blanding radioed to the precinct that shots were fired and that medics were needed.

Officer Davis observed Burton conscious, lying on his back on the ground without a shirt, with an apparent gunshot wound to his midsection. Officer Blanding told Officer Davis that Burton ran because he did not want to go to jail. Burton remained on the ground and said he was tired from running. Burton's shirt and hoodie were found on the ground at the crime scene.

Burton was patted down for weapons and none were found. EMS was called and Davis left the rear of the house so he could guide EMS to the specific location when they arrived on scene, since the houses on the block lacked house numbers.

Investigation of Officer Blanding's Weapon

The investigation of Blanding's weapon confirmed that the count was consistent with only one shot being fired. Evidence technicians collected and placed on evidence a WIN .40 caliber fired cartridge case, as well as the decedent's cell phone. The fired cartridge case was located in a pile of leaves and small pieces of brush by DPD K-9 Bozy. No other firearms or fired evidence was located.

Both the recovered fired cartridge case and fired bullet were submitted to MSP Lab and were identified as having been fired from Blanding's service weapon.

Other Witnesses

A civilian in a home on Otsego was identified. He indicated that he was in his house, in bed, when he heard an officer saying, "Get down, get down!" He also heard the officer talking on his radio, calling for help. He then went outside and saw a second officer looking for his partner. He did not hear a gunshot.

Video

Scout car video was operable. Officer Blanding is briefly visible on the video when he exits the scout car near the crash and then immediately goes back to the scout car to chase Burton. He is not visible when he exits the vehicle again to chase the subject on foot.

There were no body worn cameras. There were no surveillance cameras in the area.

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Autopsy

Dr. Sung performed the autopsy at the Wayne Medical Examiner's Office. Raynard Burton was 19 years old, 5'11" and 184 lbs. The cause of death was a close range single gunshot wound to the right chest. Around the wound was a circumferential ring of gunpowder stippling. The stippling extends 1 ¾ inches from the wound entrance. There were also small abrasions to the left flank, left arm, bilateral hands, right knee and left leg. One bullet was removed from Burton's body.

Blanding's Height and Weight

Officer Blanding is 47-years-old. He is 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed 170 pounds.

Background Information

Carjacking by Raynard Burton

The investigation revealed that at about 12:21 a.m. on February 11, 2017, the green Pontiac Bonneville in question was carjacked from a man in the 3800 block of Sturtevant while he was in his own driveway placing items in the car. The victim had only recently purchased the car from an acquaintance. The registration had not yet been transferred to him. On February 13, 2017, the carjacking victim identified Burton in a photographic lineup as the individual who carjacked him.

Conclusion

The investigation clearly established that only one shot was fired in the encounter between Officer Blanding and Burton. That shot was fired by Officer Blanding at the conclusion of a vehicle pursuit and foot chase of Burton. Burton said that he did not want to go to jail. He fled from police, knowing that he had committed a carjacking in circumstances where the victim would be able to identify him.

The description of events given by Officer Blanding to his partner, corroborated by the investigation and his radio transmissions, indicate that Burton led Officer Blanding to an overgrown area in the rear of a vacant house. It further supports that Burton refused to get down, and that the two engaged in a struggle, at which time Burton grabbed for Officer Blanding's gun.Officer Blanding's description of events is further supported by the account given by the civilian that he heard Blanding yelling, "Get down, get down!" and then heard Blanding calling for assistance on the radio.

Officer Blanding's version of events is also supported by the location and the close nature of the gunshot wound which ultimately killed Burton. The placement of the wound is consistent with Burton struggling with Officer Blanding and reaching for his weapon. The fact that the wound is close range with gun powder stippling around its circumference is also consistent with a struggle between the two men in close contact.

Based on the facts and evidence in the case, there is insufficient evidence to charge a crime and the warrant request is denied.

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Detroit Police Officer Charged in Assault of
Two Men at Mobil Station

Detroit Police Officer Richard Billingslea, 25, has been charged in connection with assaults on Michaele Jackson, 39, and D'Marco Craft, 26, both of Detroit, at a Mobil Gas Station in Detroit.

It is alleged that on May 31, 2017 at approximately 1:40 a.m., Officer Billingslea and his partner stopped at the Mobil Gas Station in the 17000 block of Harper in their marked scout car. Officer Billingslea is alleged to have become involved in a verbal exchange with Jackson, a friend of D'Marco Craft who was previously known to Officer Billingslea. The argument escalated into an assault during which Jackson was pepper-sprayed and beaten. Craft recorded the assault on his cell phone, which was taken by another officer who responded to the location. Billingslea is alleged to have disposed of Craft's cell phone in a trash can in the store. Jackson was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Defendant Billingslea has been charged with Assault with Intent to Commit Great Bodily Harm, Aggravated Assault, Obstruction of Justice, Misconduct in Office and Assault and Battery*.

Billingslea will be arraigned on December 21, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. in 36th District Court.

*The charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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Former Detroit Police Officer Charged
in Assault of Detroiter

Former Detroit Police Officer Edward Hicks, 28, has been charged in connection with the assault of Deonta Stewart, 31, of Detroit.

On August 30, 2016 at approximately 10:00 p.m., Officer Hicks and his partner drove up on Stewart, who was walking in the area of the Martin Luther King Homes at Chene and Lafayette Streets in Detroit. It is alleged that Hicks yelled for Stewart to stop and he took off running. Hicks initiated a foot chase. During the chase, Stewart looked back and, realizing he was being pursued by the police, stopped running. It is alleged that Hicks punched Stewart in the face multiple times, causing significant facial injuries and placed him under arrest.

Stewart's transport to the Detroit Detention Center (DDC) was delayed. Before taking Stewart to DDC, it is also alleged that Hicks told Stewart to give a false statement to the intake officer about his arrest and injuries. Stewart was later released from DDC and sought medical treatment at a local hospital.

Defendant Hicks has been charged with Assault with Intent to Commit Great Bodily Harm, Aggravated Assault, Obstruction of Justice and Misconduct in Office*.

Arrangements are being made for Hicks to turn himself in for arraignment. An updated release will be sent out when the date and time has been confirmed.

*The charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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