The family of Deven Guilford has filed a federal lawsuit against Sgt. Jonathan Frost and Eaton County because they claim the Michigan cop wrongfully shot and killed the unarmed teen. The altercation between the 17-year-old boy and Frost started when the cop pulled over Guilford after the teen flashed the sheriff’s deputy in order to signal a car issue. During the traffic stop, Frost claims Guilford refused to cooperate with his orders, and after a fight broke out the police officer shot the unarmed teen seven times.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, the family of Tamir Rice claims that prosecutors are “whitewashing” the police shooting, which involved a Texas cop shooting a 12-year-old boy holding a pellet gun. The parents of black teen Gyasi Hughes want another Texas cop charged with use of excessive force for choke-slamming the boy into the ground after a school fight had already ended.
The incident involving Sgt. Jonathan Frost and Deven Guilford occurred in February of 2015. The federal lawsuit notes that the teen had just finished playing basketball at a local church and was driving to his girlfriend’s house when he passed Frost, who was driving a new patrol car. Guilford apparently believe the patrol car’s brights were improperly turned on, so the teen flashed the police officer. The federal lawsuit also claims at least two other motorists tried to warn the police officer about his bright lights.
In response. Frost pulled over Deven Guilford and asked the teen for his driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. However, the boy allegedly refused to give his driver’s license, which was physically located at his girlfriend’s house. The teen also had his cell phone out, and was video-recording the incident.
In response, the Michigan cop pulled Guilford out of the vehicle and told him to lie flat on the ground. While the teen at first obeyed, he allegedly refused to put his hands behind his back to be handcuffed, and he cried out, “Officer, what are you doing?” As the boy began to struggle, Frost used his taser gun, but when that did not work they began to fight.
Frost says the fight with Deven Guilford left him bloodied on the face. The Michigan cop says he began to taste blood in his mouth, and was concerned about passing out during the fight, so he unholstered his gun and shot the teen seven times at close range. Photos of his injuries were released by the Eaton county Prosecutor’s Office.
In response to the death of Deven Guilford, federal lawsuit papers have been filed by Cynthia Heenan and Hugh Davis, the attorneys for Deven’s family. Although Eaton County prosecutor Doug Lloyd has already cleared officer Jonathan Frost of any criminal wrongdoing, the lawyers claim the officer violated the boy’s constitutional rights.
“We’re alleging wrongful death, we’re alleging excessive force, we’re alleging violation of civil rights, we’re alleging violation of the 4th amendment, which prohibits unreasonable seizures,” Davis said, adding that Frost should have never pulled the teen over in the first place. “What he did was give the officer a courtesy flash, because he thought the officer’s bright lights were on. That isn’t a violation of the state law. The officer had no right to stop him.”
During the federal lawsuit, the lawyers seem to be indicating that officer Frost lied about the fight and faked his own injuries.
“He claims that Deven hit him with his fist. Well, if you look at that mark above his eye on his forehead, that wasn’t done by somebody hitting with a fist. You know, there’s no rings on Deven’s hands, there’s no blood, there’s no evidence of injury when they did the autopsy,” Davis said, according to WILX. “As far as we’re concerned, he just made that up.”
In response to the federal lawsuit, Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reich released a statement claiming it is “understandable and reasonable that a decision to use a firearm will be challenged and scrutinized by many sources,” but the sheriff also stood by Frost’s actions.
“On the night of the incident, I ordered that this incident be investigated by an independent law enforcement agency, in this case, the Michigan State Police. Upon its completion that investigation was reviewed by the Eaton County Prosecutor. The Prosecutor’s conclusion was that the force used by Sgt. Frost was lawful, based upon his honest and reasonable belief that he faced a serious and imminent threat of great bodily harm or death. My office conducted an internal review, which determined that Sgt. Frost had not violated Eaton County Sheriff’s office regulations, general orders and his training. I stand by both of those determinations.”
If the jury sides with the family in regard to the death of Deven Guilford, federal lawsuit damages to Eaton County could potentially be in the millions. According to the Lansing State Journal, the family may receive compensation that could be “anywhere from $500,000 to $2 million,” although insurance coverage used by the count is capped at $15 million per incident.
[Image via YouTube]