By on September 7, 2017

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The fun and games stop being fun when stuff gets real. Nothing is as real as death.

Not long ago we featured a story about a fatal incident on Detroit’s east side, the result of two fellows street racing a motorcycle against a go-kart. More recently, a Michigan State Trooper has been suspended pending Detroit Police and Michigan State Police investigations of an Aug. 26 incident resulting in the death of a 15-year-old male riding an ATV on a public street. The trooper used a taser on the youth, from his moving cruiser, after the teen allegedly refused to pull over. After being tased, Demond Grimes crashed his ATV into a pickup truck. He died after being taken to a hospital.

In the wake of the pursuit, which lasted less than a minute, and the fatal crash, the Michigan State Police have revised their chase policies. Grimes’ family has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the trooper, identified by The Detroit News as Mark Bessner.

To address the issue of increased use of off-road recreational vehicles like ATV four-wheelers, mini-bikes, go-karts, and dirt bikes racing and stunting on city streets, and try to get them off the public roads, the Motor City’s top cop has made an interesting proposal. Detroit Police Chief James Craig thinks the city should set aside some of Detroit’s ample vacant land for use as an off-road vehicle park.

Residents in a variety of neighborhoods around the city told The Detroit News that it’s a common situation, but they disagreed as to whether or not it is a problem.

Jonathan Pommerville, who lives in the Brightmoor neighborhood on Detroit’s west side said, “You see them driving up and down the road at 50-60 mph. They go through red lights like it’s nothing. There was a kid on a go-kart who hit the turnaround on Grand River going about 60 mph.”

However,  Vaughn Arrington Jr., president of the Pelke Family Block Club on the city’s east side, see the riders contributing to a sense of community. “I see quite a few of them,” he said. “Groups are getting them and riding throughout the neighborhood in Morningside and Osborn… They get these four-wheelers and motorbikes, and they get people together for something positive. I think the police officers may want to talk to the kids and ask them to stay off the main roads and to be careful.”

Ron Szostec said the four-wheelers are common on the southwest Detroit street where he lives. “You see them on their four-wheelers going up and down Lonyo, mostly kids,” he said. “I usually see them during the day, so it’s not like they’re driving at night where you can’t see them. I don’t think it’s a big problem.”

Chief Craig, though, disagrees. “They’re dangerous when not used how they’re supposed to be used,” Craig said. “These things shouldn’t be driven on the street, and they pose a danger to both the public and rider. It’s been a real issue for law enforcement.” Craig pointed out that many of those driving and riding the ATVs and other motor vehicles are young, unlicensed, and untrained. They don’t wear safety equipment and have been seen stunting, weaving in and out of traffic, and ignoring stop signs and red lights.

While their use on-road is a problem, the ability of ATVs and dirt bikes to go off-road makes catching them difficult.  “These vehicles are fast, and they can go places squad cars can’t, like through vacant fields,” Chief Craig said. “We need to find a way to abate this without engaging in high-speed pursuits.”

Following up on earlier discussions about setting up a proper drag strip in the city, to give street racers a legal and safer place to run, Craig suggested that setting aside some open space for ATVs and dirt bikes might help get those vehicles off the road as well.

The suggestion has the support of at least one member of Detroit’s Board of Police Commissioners. Commissioner Reginald Crawford said, “There are enough overgrown lots, and it wouldn’t cost too much money to clear some trails. The city owns many of these lots. It’s time to make a withdrawal from the land bank.”

There’s some precedent for the idea of setting aside land to get outlaw car culture on the right side of the law. “We had young people who were having these underground car shows and taking over the city’s streets,” Craig said. “We came up with a solution: The Riverfront Conservatory donated a plot of land at no cost to let them have their car shows there.”

The police chief told The Detroit News that he’s already discussed a similar project for ORV’s with the Riverfront Conservatory, which manages some of Detroit’s vacant land.

In general, Michigan prohibits the use of off-road vehicles on public roads and even off-road it is against the law for anyone younger than 16 to operate an off-road vehicle “unless the child is under the direct visual supervision of an adult and the child has in his or her immediate possession an (off road vehicle) safety certificate,” according to state law.

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81 Comments on “Trooper Involved ATV Fatality Has Detroit Police Chief Proposing Urban Off-Road Park...”


  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Pardon me for not caring that one of these idiots died doing this.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      I think you should care very much that an officer decided to shoot the driver of a moving vehicle for a traffic violation.

      • 0 avatar
        dougjp

        Nope. It probably made more sense at the time than cutting him off with the car. Which was the only other logical option, given that the idiot declared himself wanting to “die by cop” by refusing to stop. And I hope the courts throw out the “frivolous” lawsuit by his parents as well. This anarchy has to stop.

        • 0 avatar
          sirwired

          I was not aware that the proper sentence for refusing the commands of a police officer for a traffic stop was the death penalty.

          • 0 avatar
            dougjp

            Wow, its learning time yesterday. Haven’t there been enough simple examples over the past few years? I should say, more than enough.

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            A few years ago I was flagrantly violating the speed limit while taking an injured person to the hospital in my personal car.

            A cop attempted to pull me over, I did not stop.

            He followed me with lights on all the way to the ER dropoff, at which point he understood what was going on and asked how he could help. Good fella.

            I am glad that (unlike you) he did not interpret my decision not to stop as a license to murder me.

        • 0 avatar
          Charliej

          Screw the cops. I hope the kids family owns the police force after the trial. Why not allow these vehicles to be licensed for the road? People are going to ride them on the road and all of the posturing by the “law and order” people, thinly disguised fascists, will not change that. Also the cop that did this has been sued for excessive force at least twice before, with the city having to pay for his lack of judgment. Idiot cops ought to be fired to keep the taxpayers from having to pay for their stupidity.

          • 0 avatar
            Garrett

            Because they lack the safety equipment that road going vehicles require, don’t meet the same environmental standards…and because the only reason they are being ridden is because you CAN buy them without a license.

            What you fail to understand is that this isn’t a group of off-road enthusiats who don’t have a place to ride. It’s a group of people who want to behave like morons and have found a way to do so that generally prevents them from being accountable.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Where do you stand on public employee unions, CharlieJ? They’re why he’s still on the job.

            There are a lot of people on here crying for the kids that their big government ideals turned into criminals. There are so many laws and regulations that anything done to alleviate this situation will break at least a half dozen of them.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        He didn’t shoot the kid, he tased him. Maybe not the best way to go about it in hindsight, but it doesn’t compare to actually shooting him.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        He tazed him. Non-lethal force. Oh he crashed while riding like an a$$clown? Hazard of the job.

        • 0 avatar

          Non-lethal force, that happens to have violated department policy which doesn’t permit firing tasers from moving vehicles.

          My concern is the trooper’s apparent lack of concern for the safety of others. The truck that Grimes struck could have been occupied. He might have hit a pedestrian. This didn’t happen in the middle of the night when streets are empty, it was at 5:30 PM on a Saturday.

        • 0 avatar
          Guitar man

          “Tasers are only to be used when a police constable is at risk, not to be used for compliance”.

          That is pretty much verbatim the policy that policemen are required to follow.

          • 0 avatar
            jfb43

            This.

            The proliferation of “non-lethal” devices, put in the hands of shoot-first-ask-later cowboys is a hazard to public safety. Tasers can be deadly, and anything short of a firearm gives cops free reign to do whatever in order to get compliance – other than, you know, using IPC skills.

            Yeah, the ATV riders are buttclowns, but it’s the court’s job to determine their fate, not some flatfoot.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          BTW, tasers and beanbag guns are considered “less lethal” not “non-lethal,” because they very well still can kill.

          http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/crime/article104412591.html

        • 0 avatar
          operagost

          Yeah, stupid assclown, can’t even ride an ATV properly while he has no control over any of his bodily functions!

    • 0 avatar
      DangerDave77

      Stupid move by the rider? Well, duh. But death is forever dude and he was someone’s son. Wouldn’t make you any less of a man to care a little.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        “He was someone’s son”.

        That someone let his (or let’s face it, her) 15y/o son ride an ATV in the middle of the city on public streets like a hooligan. Not exactly parents of the year. What’s the kid doing with an ATV in the middle of the city? Where did it come from? Sorry, kid wasn’t going to be a productive member of society anyways.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          And you NEVER did anything stupid and reckless as a teenager? Without your parents approval? Congrats. First ever.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            Oh I did stupid and reckless stuff, but I had enough brains to do it where no one was around. Stupid stuff on mountain bikes in the woods, deserted back roads, that sorta thing. That’s a pretty far cry from unlicensed riders on unlicnsed illegal machines stunting through the middle of a city. Come on man.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “Oh I did stupid and reckless stuff,”

            you totally missed his point. you said this was the fault of whoever “let” “her” (because of course it’s a woman’s fault) son ride an ATV in the middle of the street.

            Did your parents “let” you do that stupid and reckless stuff? I’m pretty sure they didn’t. I’m pretty sure that they don’t know about it to this day.

            so in your world, this happened because this black kid’s mother “let him be a hooligan,” but your bad behavior when you were a teenager was OK because reasons.

        • 0 avatar
          DangerDave77

          I’m actually surprised you don’t care about this dude, seeing as you seem to know so much about him.. Then again, if armchair quarterbacking was hard, no one would do it.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      “too young to have formulated adult opinions.” – Corey Lewis

  • avatar
    JimZ

    I predict great things for these comments.

  • avatar
    never_follow

    It’s Motor City, isn’t it?

    As the chief says, they can’t really catch them (without tasering from a moving vehicle), so why not give them a place where they can run their ATV’s in a controlled environment out of normal vehicle traffic?

    I’d say get the drag strip going as well, it’ll help the city make better use of their limited resources.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      They don’t want a controlled environment. What fun would that be?

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        utter nonsense. in a previous life/job, we used to b!tch about having to constantly repaint and repair things like steps, railings, and whatnot because kids would always be grinding away on them with their skateboards. Then cities like Eastpointe put skateparks in and guess what? THEY GET USED.

        http://www.sk8parkatlas.com/EastpointMI.html

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “As the chief says, they can’t really catch them (without tasering from a moving vehicle), so why not give them a place where they can run their ATV’s in a controlled environment out of normal vehicle traffic?”

      Two words: midnight basketball.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    How about addressing the reasons why these youth are choosing to ride off-road machines on public streets?
    An urban stunt park isn’t going to do much to change the culture.

  • avatar

    Unregistered
    Unlicensed
    Uninsured
    No safety equipment-helmets optional.
    Total ignorance of any traffic rules.

    I was on the very upper East side (Harlem), in Traffic about a year ago. While waiting at a light, I heard a sound from my youth…dozens of two stroke engines…like the line at a motocross. Suddenly, I’m passed by a fleet of two stroke dirt bikes, knobbies and all. A few ATV go by on the right, and pop block long wheelies.

    Turns out this is “a thing” as the kids say.

    We need places to ride. The eco-warriors have worked hard, often underhandedly, to close public lands to cycles, Jeeps and snowmachines. This doesn’t mean, though, that you should ride your off-road only dirt bike on 125th street and St Nicholas.

    Then, just as fast as they appeared, they were gone.

  • avatar
    Stanley Steamer

    You can tell how well a city is doing economically by how much traffic is in the streets. There doesn’t seem to be much traffic in Detroit. The empty streets attract the riders and the police let them take hold.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      I’m pretty sure you’ve never been inside the city limits of Detroit. Newsflash- outside of downtown, Detroit is a huge cluster of single-family and duplex houses in neighborhoods, with the occasional apartment building here and there. in effect, it’s a giant suburb forming a ring around the urban downtown core. the incident in question happened at the intersection of Rossini Dr. and Gratiot Ave., which you can see here:

      https://www.google.com/maps/@42.4432396,-82.9722373,412m/data=!3m1!1e3

      And since I literally just drove through there this evening (and I do mean “literally,” as I was going north on Gratiot and would have passed Rossini at about 5:50 p.m. today,) I can tell you Gratiot sees plenty of traffic during the week. In fact, it was backed up pretty badly tonight because I-94 was all sorts of f**ked up. I can even post a screencap of my dashcam video if you don’t believe me.

      but that’s beside the point. Rossini Dr. is a residential street. it’s not meant to carry a lot of traffic. Certainly not enough to dissuade a bored teenager from taking an ATV down it. hell, if I was younger and dumber I could take my FZ-09 and go bombing down the streets of my mostly-lily-white-suburb of Detroit and cause the same trouble this kid did.

  • avatar
    phxmotor

    •Leave the kids alone. Let ’em have their fun.
    •Make it clear they have to be polite when cars
    are on the road.
    •Start handing out $20 bills whenever curtious
    and polite behavior is seen by the cops.
    •Call it “gas money”
    Or… manufacture more criminals out of normal kids.
    Yeah… that’s the ticket.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    What happens when one of these idiots has an accident and kills or maims someone? No license, no identification, no responsibility.

    Please don’t reward this behavior with a perk like an off-road park. Besides, what makes anyone think they will restrict their activities to just the park.

    Seriously, I didn’t know we had legalized marijuana in Michigan. I want some of what the Police Chief is smoking.

    The problem with the cop is that he tazed the rider, he should have tazed the vehicle. I don’t know what it will take to get these clowns off the street, but they’d better come up with something. Rewarding criminal behavior is not going to lessen it.

    The redneck in me is saying if I hit one in traffic, I have no need to stop. We can both play by the same rules…

  • avatar

    This has been a problem in Philly for nearly a decade and they haven’t done didley about it.

  • avatar
    cleek

    This has been going on for years in Baltimore and DC

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oU0fiFn_IM

    Most of the vehicles are stolen (or “liberated” in the activist vernacular). Given all of the other horrors the cops have to deal with and the lack of political will, they are pretty much powerless to stop it.

  • avatar
    DangerDave77

    The longer I work down there in the city, the more I think that Detroit inner city kids and my neighborhood hillbilly kids have more in common than they do differences.

  • avatar
    zip89123

    The criminals aren’t going to respect the law no matter where it happens.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Murder 2.

    Same thing I or any other citizen would get if we tazed someone and they died as a direct result, even if death was not our intent. Cops don’t get to make up rules, and/or disregard laws/rules already in place, when it suits them.

    The kid was not a murderer hell bent on killing more (and on his way to do so), he wasn’t anything BUT a stupid, immature kid doing something stupid kids do. I’m not saying he was in the right, but he didn’t deserve grave injury or death at the hands of a cop. And no matter what you say, we’ve all been there in some way or another. Got your mom’s Caprice up to 100? Got drunk at a party and drove home? Jumped from a balcony into the pool? Did doughnuts in the high school football field? All dangerous, stupid things we’d rather forget, as it appears some of you have.

    Yes. Some stupid ignorant kids have killed while being stupid, and they deserve punishment just like anyone else in such a case. Being young and immature does not excuse such, not in the least. And yes, this kid could have ended up killing someone doing what he was doing. But if officers started taking out anyone they felt could be a danger, we’d have more bodies than we knew what to do with. Applying make-up/eating a burrito in your Highlander at 75 mph? See you in hell! Zap!

    That is no reason to do something SO PHUCKING STUPID as to taze him while he was moving. If the officer was worried that he might crash and hurt someone or himself, WHAT THE PHUCK did he think would happen when he tazed him?!?!?! He would just calmly pull over and say I’m sorry?!

    There is a reason cops don’t just shoot at people on a chase through city streets, or shoot their tires out while they’re doing 60 in a school zone. There is a reason why it is against code to taze someone in that same situation, were it possible. Losing control of a vehicle at speed is an incredibly dangerous thing, far more dangerous than continuing *in control* at an unsafe speed. Their job is not to administer justice any way they see fit, with no trial, jury or judge.

    “I’ll teach this kid a lesson he’ll never forget.”

    Well, you succeeded. I hope the satisfaction you derived from it was worth his life. This kid didnt deserve to die.

    If he died while doing something stupid on his own, say for example if he crashed and died WITHOUT being tazed, that is quite another matter. My heart would still be saddened by it, but this was directly caused by someone who took an oath to serve and protect.

    My cousin died in 2015, 5 days before her 17th birthday, doing something stupid. She flipped her Maxima after losing control at 100 mph +. She was not belted and she was thrown from the car, as was her step sister, who survived but had to have several vertebra in her neck fused.

    Maybe that’s why I feel so strongly. I just know if someone, be it a cop or anyone else, had CAUSED her to crash and die, I’d be posting this from prison by now, and I’d be there on a murder rap.

    G
    This is

  • avatar
    stuki

    I bet many of these guys would prefer a car, if it wasn’t so prohibitive to obtain one. So, they settle for what they can afford and get away with.

    Unless Detroit has reached the point of decay, where ATVs and Dirtbikes truly are the most practical modes of transportation in large swathes of it, of course…

    When I was a kid, we used dirtbikes partially as general purpose transportation as well. Including some with less than crystal clear ownership records… Then ran away from cops by hoping into parks/fields/forrestlets, and across pedestrian over and under passes and similar.

    Unless my memory is unwarrantdedly rose tinted, we did try to behave in traffic, though. Some of these guys seem to be taunting and harassing other road users on purpose. The Youtube factor, perhaps?

    • 0 avatar

      Our cat and mouse (suburban Jersey, the 70’s) was getting to and from places to ride..vacant lots, railroad rights of way. You’d not fire up the bike till you got to dirt, although on the way home we’d sometimes give in to temptation. The law would stop us, and check to see if the engines were hot. If not, have a nice day, if yes, then a different conversation. There was always one old coot who’d call us in if we rode on the local streets….and we never sassed the cops. Certainly not what is going on here….

      None of our bikes were stolen..

  • avatar
    cdrmike

    What the actual fuck is wrong with people? This place we live in is fairly decent because we have laws. What does the law say? Keep your damn ATVs and other illegal crap off the street. Why? Because, otherwise it becomes friggin’ mad max out there. How immature and/or stupid do you have to be not to understand this basic concept of civilization? Douchebags run amok….

  • avatar
    Shortest Circuit

    I find it slightly disturbing that people are defending these outlaws. “Kids are just playing” “Shot at for a traffic offense” etc
    You mean to tell me you think it is legal to be on the streets in a vehicle that has no registration, plates or lights for that matter? Oh, I am sure that with all that wealth in Detroit, every one of these hoodlums had an insurance.

    I see groups of mostly ethnic kids terrorizing a nearly lawless city. I have the same sentiment for them as for someone goes to a rally wearing a hoodie and a mask: F’em. F’em hard, they are not there to better the economy or the community, just to cause harm.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      yet if your kids get in trouble doing stuff like this, you’ll move heaven and earth to get them out of it.

      everybody’s all “law and order, lock ’em up and throw away the key” until it’s them (or their kids) at stake. then your hypocrisy gets laid bare for all to see.

    • 0 avatar
      jfb43

      Elderly people in nursing homes aren’t there to better the economy or the community, nor are the mentally deficient. Should they be euthanized as well?

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Is getting old a crime yet? That you even think there is any kind of parallel is deranged. I’ll be sure to tell the CEO of Commonwealth Senior Living that his 1,800 residents aren’t helping the economy while supporting almost an equal number of employees.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    Didn’t the whole Detroit area just finish a huge event celebrating the history of illegal street racing on Woodward Avenue? Oh, those were white kids in the suburbs in the 1960’s… like the guys who are now city managers and police chiefs. Never mind.

    • 0 avatar

      No, the Woodward Dream Cruise celebrates cruising, not racing. I graduated from Berkley High School in 1972, when muscle was king. BHS is maybe a mile from Woodward, straight down Catalpa street. While there was a community of serious street racers (some backdoor affiliated with the Detroit automakers) that raced on Woodward, or on Gratiot on the east side, or the street (whose name escapes me just now) on the southwest side, they were a tiny minority. American Graffiti is fictional but it showed how most kids cruised, while a few kids raced.

      For what it’s worth, the typical cruising vehicle back in the day on a typical Saturday night on Woodward was likely mom’s station wagon, not some kind of hot Mustang or Camaro.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Detroit is a Sanctuary City. As such how is it up to some kid on an ATV to know which laws the cops will be enforcing today versus which they can get a pass on. To the Detroit PD I would say enforce the laws, all of them or don’t be mad when people expect to get a pass on stuff like this.

    And yes, Where was the threat to the public that required this dude be tased. Cop was in no danger, article didn’t mention pedestrians diving for cover. The cop’s actions made this situation more dangerous.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      American citizens are still shackled by all the laws in a Sanctuary City. Only illegal aliens and people stealing from the taxpayers for their benefit get a pass.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Did anyone else hear some big, wet fart noises? because that’s all that this nonsense posted by these two “people” sounded like.

      Detroit is not a “sanctuary city”.

      http://michiganradio.org/post/duggan-detroit-isnt-sanctuary-city-not-affected-trump-order

      Lansing was initially but rescinded it later. but Lansing is not Detroit; it’s at least an hour and a half west. Not that I think either of you brain children know how to read a map.

      not to mention WTF does the idea of a “sanctuary city” have to do at all with the events described in this article? Do you two just grab any opportunity you can to spew your @ss chili all over the place?

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al From 'Murica

        [Edited for civility]. Yes, the source I read was wrong on the sanctuary City bit. I did a quick Google and got burned.

        My point was that as a society we have decided to allow certain people to break the law. Furthermore this has been going on without serious enforcement. So now some poor black kid gets killed because he didn’t know today was the day they’d start enforcing the particular law he was breaking. Enforce the laws.

        As for your condescending tone, [edited for civility].

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al From 'Murica

        Screw you you condescending prick.

        FYes, the source I read was wrong on the sanctuary City bit. I did a quick Google and got burned.

        My point was that as a society we have decided to allow certain people to break the law. Furthermore this has been going on without serious enforcement. So now some poor black kid gets killed because he didn’t know today was the day they’d start enforcing the particular law he was breaking. Enforce the laws, all of them.

  • avatar
    Hoon Goon

    “He was potentially endangering others, so he tased him while he was riding to insure that others were put in danger, which led to a death. He had it coming because of his dangerous activity and failure to comply with costumed agents of the state.”

    Pretty much shows you where our society is at. Police State Munchhausen Syndrome.

  • avatar
    jaybread

    The root cause of why the miscreant was doing miscreant things with an ATV would be a fun 5-Why analysis, but not relevant to getting tased.

    This appears to be a result of the classic “contempt of cop” syndrome. Most police forces train their officers to beware of over-reacting to this syndrome, which is quite common.

    Sort of like arresting a nurse in a hospital for not obeying the officers commands…”contempt of cop” takes over and the officer goes spider monkey.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      When Trey Parker and Matt Stone came up with Cartman’s “RESPECT MY AUTHORI-TAH!!!” schtick, it wasn’t meant to be a model to follow…

    • 0 avatar

      Contempt of cop is not a crime in America, it’s just treated like one by LEOs. My old shrink used to say that too many cops have prison guard mentalities, when any and all disrespect is treated as a lethal threat.

      Since my black buddies tell me that black cops are even worse to them than white cops my guess is that much alleged racist behavior by cops isn’t really racist, just cops being the rectal orifices that many cops seem to be. While some of the best people in our society are LEOs, the job does seem to attract people who do like to push others around.

  • avatar
    Joe K

    So all these fine law abiding individuals would go out and by trailers to get their ATVs to and from the park and I’m sure will carry the proper insurance to use said park as they tend to do.


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