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Nessel charges state trooper for the murder of West Michigan man

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Nessel charges state trooper for the murder of West Michigan man

May 28, 2024 | 7:28 pm ET
By Anna Liz Nichols
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Nessel charges state trooper for the murder of West Michigan man
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Attorney General Dana Nessel press conference, May 28, 2024 | Screenshot

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed criminal charges Tuesday against Michigan State Police Det. Sgt. Brian Keely for striking 25-year-old Kentwood resident Samuel Sterling with a vehicle during a pursuit in April, afterwhich Sterling died from his injuries.

Michigan State Police released footage earlier this month of the April 17 incident where during a police pursuit of Sterling, Keely struck Sterling with his vehicle in a fast food parking lot in Kentwood.

Nessel announced over video Tuesday that her office is charging Keely with one count of murder in the second degree, carrying a life penalty. Alternatively, her office is putting forth a charge of Involuntary manslaughter, a fifteen-year felony, should a court determine that the murder charge was not appropriate.

“We have found that Detective Sergeant Keely’s actions that day were legally grossly negligent and created a very high risk of death or great bodily harm, which could have otherwise been prevented as a result,” Nessel said.

Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), who represents Kentwood, reacted to the footage of the incident being released earlier this month expressing gratitude that Keely had been placed on unpaid suspension, showing that the incident was being taken seriously by Michigan State Police.

“The footage released today showing the last moments of Samuel Sterling’s life is unbearable to watch. As a mom, I am heartbroken for the Sterling family and I extend my deepest condolences to his loved ones and our entire community,” Brinks said.

Keely will be arraigned in the 62-B District Court in Kentwood, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office said in a news release Tuesday,