The family of a teenager who attacked a police sergeant and was fatally shot has accepted a $2.4 million settlement in their lawsuit against the officer (video of shooting below.) Deven Guilford, 17, was pulled over Feb. 28, 2015, for flashing his high beams at Eaton County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Jonathan Frost. Sgt. Frost’s bodycam video showed Guilford began arguing with the police officer as soon as he was approached. The video showed Sgt. Frost asking Guilford for identification, and the teenager lecturing him about his high beams, and telling the officer he was recording him. Sgt. Frost told Guilford that he was recording the traffic stop, too.
“I don’t even know you’re an officer,” Guilford said. Sgt. Frost identified himself, and continued to request identification from the driver, the video showed. He twice requested backup from his dispatcher during the exchange with Guilford, the video showed. The officer explained to the teenager that it was a misdemeanor to refuse to give police his identification during a traffic stop, and suggested Guilford “get with the program.” “Do you realize that if you’d complied with this traffic stop it would have gone a whole different way for you?” Sgt. Frost asked after the teenager continued to argue with him and refused to provide identification. The video showed Guilford continued to refuse to provide his driver’s license. “I do not have to give you that,” Guilford said.
Eventually, Sgt. Frost told Guilford to get out of the car. When he did not comply, Sgt. Frost opened the car door, the video showed. “Do not touch me officer. Do not touch me. You cannot open my car,” Guilford yelled. At that point, the video showed Sgt. Frost pointed a Taser at Guilford. “Get out of the car. Now, out of the car. Out of the car or you’re going to get tased,” Sgt. Frost instructed calmly, and again told Guildford the entire incident was being recorded. Guilford got out of his car and got on his knees, but the video clearly showed he refused to put his phone down and wasn’t really complying with Sgt. Frost’s commands. The video showed that when Sgt. Frost went to put handcuffs on Guilford, the teenager attacked. “I don’t have a weapon … You can’t do that … you can’t do that!” the video showed Guilford struggling violently and screaming.
On the video, a zapping sound was heard as Sgt. Frost deployed his Taser. Guilford continued struggling, and got back up again. The video ended there, before any gunshots were fired. Sgt. Frost said he and Guilford moved about 25 feet from the car to a ditch, where Guilford got on top of him and started beating him in the face. According to the Lansing State Journal, Sgt. Frost said he was bleeding, losing consciousness, and feared for his life so he fired his weapon at Guilford seven times. In June of 2015, Eaton County Prosecutor Doug Lloyd ruled the shooting of Guilford was justified. The $2.4 million settlement comes two months after federal Judge Paul Maloney declined to dismiss the excessive force lawsuit by Guilford’s parents against Sgt. Frost, the Lansing State Journal reported. MLive.com reported the settlement will be paid through the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority, the county’s “pooled risk manager,” according to a statement from the county. “During the settlement process, Sgt. Frost personally asked Judge Kent to help bring peace and closure to the Guilford family. We know no settlement amount will bring back their son, but like the Guilford family, Jon thinks about and prays for Deven Guilford every day. This settlement will at least help avoid a long, protracted and painful legal battle for everyone involved,” James Dryer, who represented Sgt. Frost and the county, said in the statement.
Watch the video of the traffic stop here: