Family of Murdered Michigan Teen Files Federal Lawsuit Against Officer & County


The family of Deven Guilford, a 17-year-old shot dead by a police officer during a traffic stop in Western Michigan, is suing the officer and the local county government.

Video from Sgt. Frost’s body camera.

Michigan Teen Videotapes His Own MurderMichigan Teen Videotapes His Own Murder – Officer Not Charged In what starts as Deven Guilford being pulled over for flashing his bright lights at a passing officer’s vehicle, in less than 6 minutes it ends with Guilford dead, laying in a snow bank on M-43.

Posted by Revolution News on Thursday, June 18, 2015

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday against Eaton County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jonathan Frost and the county, says the officer was driving a new patrol car on Feb. 28 that had “improperly bright or misaimed headlights, even on low beams.” Deven Guilford, 17, who had been driving to his girlfriend’s house after playing basketball at his church, was one of three drivers to flash their brights at the officer to get him to dim his lights, the suit says. Frost stopped all three drivers.

Five minutes after 17yr-old Guilford was pulled over, the lawsuit says, the teen lay dead in the snow on the side of the road. Officer Frost fired seven shots, all of which hit Guilford at close range. Guilford was shot once in the head, right chest, upper belly, left armpit, lower chest, right wrist and right forearm.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan names both the officer and the county as defendants and requests compensation for Guilford’s death.

Frost and the county committed a “huge miscarriage of justice,” Guilford’s parents said in a statement to the Lansing State Journal.

“The acts of Frost in stopping, demanding identification, ordering Guilford from the car, arresting him as if he were a felon, tasing him and then killing him, were all separate and distinct illegal and unreasonable seizures under the Fourth Amendment,” according to the complaint.

In our June article containing all three videos of the incident titled: Michigan Teen Videotapes His Own Murder – Officer Not Charged, three disturbing videos, two of which were record by Deven himself, document the escalation of the seemingly unnecessary traffic stop. These graphic videos really speak for themselves. Although the officer’s body cam shuts off the instant before shots are fired, Devens cell phone is laying on the ground and still recording. The second video that Deven Guilford records captures the horrific moments when he screams out as Sgt. Frost fires 7 fatal shots.

The Guilford family, released a statement following the June announcement that Officer Jonathan Frost would not face charges.

Around 8:00 pm on February 28, 2015, our 17-year-old son and brother, Deven Guilford, was killed as a result of being shot seven times by Eaton County Deputy Sheriff Sgt. Jonathan Frost. At the time, Deven was merely traveling to his girlfriend’s house after playing basketball at his church. Deven was stopped by the officer because Deven flashed his bright lights to alert the oncoming officer that his brights appeared to be on. Notably, Deven was the third person that the officer had pulled over that night for flashing brights at the officer, who was driving a brand new police vehicle with high-intensity headlights. During this traffic stop, it appears that Deven was puzzled and confused about why he was pulled over and why he was being confronted by the officer. It appears that the officer did not make any reasonable inquiry of Deven that could have helped ease the tensions of the situation.

The Eaton County Prosecutor, after reviewing the investigation by the Michigan State Police has determined to not bring any criminal charges against Sgt. Frost. Based on what we know at this time, our family believes that our son should not have been killed on the night in question. There was no reason or necessity for the officer to physically remove our son from the car without considering other options to avoid an unnecessary violent escalation. These options could have included, keeping Deven in the car to allow more time for the incident to cool down and/or wait for other officers to arrive. It must be also noted that Deven was not in possession (of) any weapon and emphatically told the officer that he was not armed. We also have serious concerns about whether the officer used unreasonable force against Deven under the circumstances. In this regard, there are questions about whether Deven should have been tased on the side of the roadway and whether the officer had the right to shoot and kill Deven in these circumstances. Ultimately, we encourage those want more information about the encounter to view the full video of the traffic stop leading up to the physical altercation between Deven and the officer. This video is available through the Michigan State Police Department and the Eaton County Prosecutor’s office. We believe this video raises more questions than answers regarding whether Deven should be alive today.

First video recorded by Deven.  (those using apple devices may be able to view here)

Second video recorded by Deven. (those using apple devices may be able to view here)


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