Family, friends, and supporters of 25-year-old Samuel Sterling of Kentwood, Michigan, received a measure of positive news on May 28, with an announcement by the Michigan Attorney General that charges had been filed against a Michigan State Police detective for the young man’s death on April 17.

Samuel Sterling, an aspiring entertainer, and local hip-hop artist with a growing fan base in both Grand Rapids and Detroit, was reportedly fleeing on foot (see Final Call Vol. 43 No. 35) when Detective Sergeant Brian Keely, 50, of Grand Rapids, ran Mr. Sterling down with an unmarked vehicle as other members of the MSP Fugitive Task Force attempted to apprehend him for alleged probation violations.

“A number of MSP (Michigan State Police) troopers and other local law enforcement agents proceeded to chase Mr. Sterling, in their vehicles and by foot, when the vehicle Detective Sergeant Keely was driving, turned, and struck Mr. Sterling in a nearby fast-food restaurant parking lot,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a video statement released to the public May 28. Mr. Sterling was transported to the University of Michigan Metro Health Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries later that day. 

“My office has reviewed multiple police reports from other officers on the scene, read the accident reconstruction report and autopsy, as well as watched bodycam footage and surveillance videos from neighboring businesses prior to completing our investigation.


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 otherwise have been prevented,” Attorney General Nessel said.

Detective Keely was charged with:

•       One count – Murder, Second Degree, a life offense, or alternatively,

•       One count – Involuntary Manslaughter, a fifteen-year felony.

“Public integrity is a top priority for my department and we remain committed to providing a thorough and just review and resolution in each case brought before us,” Mr. Nessel said in an accompanying news release. “Detective Sergeant Keely will be arraigned in the 62-B District Court in Kentwood; the arraignment has not yet been scheduled.”