KENT COUNTY, Mich. — An officer with the Grand Rapids Police Department will face charges following an incident where his gun was unintentionally fired during an on-foot pursuit.
Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker held a press conference Friday afternoon announcing the charge. Becker said that Greg Bauer with GRPD will be charged with careless discharge of a firearm resulting in property damage. This offense is punishable by no more than 90 days in jail and a $100 fine.
Because the investigation into this incident is ongoing, Becker said he was unable to provide in-depth details about the facts and circumstances. He said that this incident is not considered assaultive because the officer had no intention of harming someone.
"The key word there is intent. There is intent to (injure or kill)," Becker said. "There is not a shred of evidence in this case that there is an intent by the officer to do either of those things based on the facts and the body cameras and the reports that I've reviewed."
On Dec. 9, GRPD officers had followed a car that was believed to have been stolen and involved in other crimes. The vehicle had stopped at a residence and the driver, Daevionne Smith, went inside. Officers waited outside the building for Smith to exit.
When Smith exited shortly after, officers moved in on foot. While moving down a sloped area, Bauer allegedly accidentally discharged his weapon. No one was hurt in the incident, but the bullet struck the residence.
Police discovered that Smith's car was not the stolen car they were looking for.
Smith called for accountability after the shooting. Smith, who is Breonna Taylor’s cousin, said that he was nearly struck in the head by the bullet during the pursuit.
The City of Grand Rapids released a statement about the ongoing investigation:
“We have cooperated throughout the investigation and will continue to do so. We fully support a process of transparency and accountability in all policing matters. Please note, GRPD has an ongoing internal investigation being conducted by the Michigan State Police and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."
Becker said during the press conference that while officers have been charged in similar cases, it's a rare occurrence.
“This isn’t something we do very often,” Becker said. “I think for the most part police do a good job."
Bauer has been a police officer for over 20 years and was placed on leave while the investigation was underway. Becker says Bauer has been "very cooperative" in the investigation.
Smith's attorney, Steve Grimm, says the situation was traumatic for his client and they're planning to file a civil lawsuit against the city soon.
"Though he wasn't actually hit by a bullet, being shot at by an officer when he didn't do anything wrong and especially given his family history and dynamic which we know about. The only point we're trying to make is he'll be entitled to civil damages because of what happened," Grimm said.
A spokesperson with the city responded they have not received a civil suit and If and when they do receive a suit, they will respond accordingly.
Watch the full press conference here:
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.