GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids police officer faces a misdemeanor charge for firing a shot that damaged a home — a shot that police say was on accident.

A count of careless discharge of a firearm causing property damage less than $50 has been issued against Officer Gregory Bauer. The maximum penalty for that misdemeanor is 90 days in jail and a fine of $100.

Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said at a Friday afternoon press conference he found no evidence that there was intent to cause harm and that Bauer had cause to draw his weapon, so he determined an assault charge was not appropriate. Getting into some legal minutiae, Becker decided Bauer was not reckless but that his behavior did meet the definition for carelessness.

“It’s carelessness. This was not intentional, this is not malicious,” Becker said. “This was something that shouldn’t have happened, obviously, but it did, and based on all the facts and circumstances that I’ve reviewed, I felt there’s a sufficient basis to file this careless discharge charge.”

On Dec. 9, the Grand Rapids Police Department was looking for a stolen car and a suspect who was believed to be armed. Police thought they saw the car parked at a home on Cass Avenue SE near Sycamore Street, so they set up a perimeter and waited for the driver to come out. When he did, Bauer ran toward him down a slope and his gun went off.

The bullet hit a building. No one was hurt.

Police on scene after the incident in the area of Cass Avenue and Sycamore Street SE on Dec. 9, 2021.

The driver, Daevionne Smith, 30, turned out not to be the person police were looking for. He wasn’t driving the same model car.

“It had to be grossly negligent… (and) intentional, because he intended to draw his weapon out and pull his gun on me, an innocent man,” Smith told News 8 following the press conference Friday.

Daevionne Smith watches Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker’s press conference. (Jan. 21, 2022)

Smith said he was nearly struck by the bullet and was disappointed it wasn’t mentioned at the press conference.

“(It’s”) minimizing when (reporters) asked where the bullet goes, they say, ‘oh it went into the house’,” Smith said. “Like no. That bullet was inches away from my face, my head, my same direction that I was running.”

Kent County Commissioner Robert S. Womack also wanted to see more serious charges brought against Bauer. Both Womack and Smith said the overall police work was sloppy and negligent.

“This isn’t an attack on the officer as much as it is an attack from me on that whole situation being set up that endangered his life,” Womack said.

Smith said the officers failed to do their homework, nearly costing him his life.

“The simple fact of they failed to do what they were trained to do as officers, as far as check (license) plates and making sure you have the right person,” Smith said.

It’s unclear when Bauer will be formally arraigned. Becker said the court will issue a summons for that. He added that Bauer has been cooperative.

The Grand Rapids Police Command Association president released a statement saying that the association disagrees with the decision to criminalize an accident.

The Grand Rapids Police Command Association president released a statement saying that the association disagrees with the decision to criminalize an accident.

“This incident is very unfortunate/traumatic for everyone involved.  We disagree with the decision to criminalize an accident that occurred during a high stress rapidly evolving incident that resulted in minimal property damage and no physical injury,” Geoff Collard said.

GRPD said in a statement that an internal investigation into the situation is ongoing. It said it has so far not gotten any word of a lawsuit over the case.

“GRPD has 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 and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.

“With respect to any potential civil litigation, we have not received a claim at this juncture. If and when we do receive a suit, we will respond accordingly.”

Grand Rapids Police Department, Jan. 21, 2022

News 8 has requested a copy of the officer’s body camera video and sent payment to fill that open records request. GRPD said Friday afternoon that while the request had been approved, staffing shortages meant it wouldn’t actually be released for four to five months.

Bodycam videos are vital to demonstrate to the public exactly what happened the night of the shooting. News 8 hopes GRPD will follow through on promises to be more transparent and release the video immediately.

—News 8 News Director Stanton Tang contributed to this report.