UPDATE: Mark Bessner was convicted and sentenced to 5-15 years in prison. We are currently waiting to hear if the Michigan Supreme Court will hear his case.
Mark Bessner has served honorably as a Michigan State Police Trooper since 2012. His wife was a Captain in the Military Police Corps of the U.S. Army, and has been serving as a law enforcement officer for the last 13 years. Together, they have a 4-year-old daughter.
A decorated police officer, during his career Trooper Bessner has removed hundreds of violent criminals, drugs, and dirty money from the streets of Detroit. He has even personally saved multiple lives.
On August 26, 2017, Trooper Bessner and his partner were patrolling the most violent area of the east-side of Detroit, known colloquially as the “Red Zone.”
As they patrolled, they observed an ATV in a 25 MPH zone doing wheelies and driving recklessly at a high rate of speed. The ATV sped toward their patrol car head-on in the middle of the street, very nearly colliding with them before veering at the last moment and turning onto another street.
They then activated their emergency lights and siren, which the ATV driver disregarded, and began to pursue the fleeing ATV. During the pursuit, Trooper Bessner was forced to make a split-second decision and, fearing for his life, deployed his Taser. The ATV crashed and the driver suffered severe injury. Trooper Bessner and his partner then immediately began administering emergency medical aid. However, the ATV driver tragically succumbed to his injuries in the ambulance en route to hospital.
Although Trooper Bessner’s actions were in defense of his life and in the line of duty, a racially and politically-motivated prosecutor’s office nevertheless charged him with one count of Second Degree Murder and two counts of Involuntary Manslaughter! To top it off, a biased judge ignored recommendations and slapped him with a $1 million bail.
Having no way to meet this unjustified and excessive bail, Trooper Bessner was forced to spend Christmas and New Year’s in a jail cell away from his family until his wife was able to scrape together the funds to cover the bond.
The excessively high bond of $1 million drained the resources of Trooper Bessner’s family and friends, leaving little to cover his mounting legal expenses. His trial is currently scheduled to begin in August 2018.
The National Center for Police Defense stands with Trooper Mark Bessner and will be working to help cover the legal expenses required to keep him from being wrongly charged for acting to defend himself in the line of duty.