Officer injured during traffic stop fight

(WLNS) – It’s been almost four months since 17-year-old Deven Guilford was shot and killed during an officer involved traffic stop in Eaton County.

On Tuesday the Eaton County prosecutor said the sergeant involved will not face any criminal charges.

The shooting happened back in February on M-43 near Grand Ledge after a fight with the high school student led to the sergeant firing his gun seven times.

Deven Guilford, 17 was initially pulled over for flashing his high beams at Eaton County Sgt Johnathan Frost, who he thought had his high beams on.

Things got heated when the Sgt. asked Guilford for license and registration, something Guilford had left at his girlfriend’s house.

What happened next ended in punches being thrown and the Sgt. shooting Guilford.

Investigators say Guilford was unarmed, but he shot video from a cell phone at the same time Sgt. Frost’s body camera was recording.

It was this moment where Eaton County Prosecutor Doug Lloyd says Sgt. Frost had reason to arrest 17-year-old Deven Guilford for not showing his license and registration.

Sgt. Frost orders Guilford to get out of the car, then tries to arrest him, shooting him with a taser.

From here the prosecutor says the two got into a fist fight. Slow motion shows Guilford punching the officer in the face. Autopsy reports show the Sgt fought back, rolling into the snow and knocking the lens off of his body camera.

“Sgt. Frost reports that as Deven is hitting him he can feel blood coming to his mouth, he can feel the pain in his face and he believes that he may be losing consciousness,” said Doug Lloyd, Eaton County Prosecutor.

Then in a matter of four seconds, Sgt. Frost fires seven shots, hitting Guilford in the chest, stomach, arm and head.

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Prosecutor Doug Lloyd says the shots were justified for self-defense with the non-lethal taser out of reach.

“They did end up in the snow, off of the side and then Sgt. Frost had nothing else in his possession in order to defend himself,” said Prosecutor Lloyd.

“We have general orders that our deputies follow and we will be looking at the investigation to make sure all these general orders are followed by Sergeant Frost,” said Sheriff Tom Reich, Eaton County.

6 News dug into the background of both Guilford and Sgt. Frost. Guilford had no criminal history, Sgt. Frost had never received a complaint against him.

While this investigation is complete, things aren’t over just yet. The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office is doing an internal investigation to see if Sgt. Frost followed their protocol.

But according to the sheriff, Sgt. Frost is back on duty.

“We have general orders that our deputies follow and we will be looking at the investigation to make sure all these general orders were followed by Sgt. Frost,” said Sheriff Tom Reich, Eaton County.

Guildford’s family also released a statement Tuesday saying, “We believe this video raises more questions than answers regarding whether Deven should be alive today. We respect the thoroughness of the investigation and the prosecutor’s decision. However, we intend to pursue other remedies to vindicate Deven’s civil rights. ”

Part Two

Now while the criminal investigation is complete, there is still more to come and for family members, more questions to be answered.

While Sergeant Frost is back on the job, the Eaton County Sheriff’s Department is working on an internal investigation to see if Sgt. Frost followed their rules.

While the sheriff wouldn’t answer questions about that internal review since it’s still ongoing, 6 News did ask the sheriff why there was no dash camera video from this shooting.

A fist fight ending in gunfire and a Mulliken teen dead, it’s something the Eaton County Prosecutor says was a tragedy, but was justified.

While the investigation showed cell phone video and body camera video of the traffic stop, one piece of video was missing, dash camera video.

“Last year the commissioners approved our budget which included dash cams as well as body cameras. These were brand new cameras that the software was not initiated in those vehicles yet,” said Sheriff Tom Reich, Eaton County.

The sheriff says they’ve since installed the new software and are now turning their focus on an internal investigation into the actions of Sgt. Jonathan Frost on the night Guilford died.

The family of the teen is also planning on moving forward to get answers.

In a statement family members said, “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.”

Eaton County Sheriff’s Office statement:

“Since the night of February 28th, 2015 our hearts continue to go out to the Guilford Family and friends for the tragic loss of Devon Guilford.

As fathers, mothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and friends to others we understand the heartache and grief in dealing with the sudden loss of a family member, loved one or co-worker. We also understand the emotions felt in the community. This was a tragic situation which will have a long term effect on everyone involved including all of us at the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office.

I requested the Michigan State Police to respond to the scene and conduct an independent investigation and I would like to thank them for the tremendous time, effort, and resources they devoted to conduct this thorough investigation.

I would also like to thank Prosecutor Doug Lloyd and his staff. We appreciate and respect the time intensive, independent process Prosecutor Lloyd and his office conducted in carefully reviewing all of the facts and circumstances resulting from the investigation and the conclusion that was reached.

As a result of these findings, Sgt. Frost will be restored to full patrol duties. We have not yet seen the investigative reports and upon obtaining them, we will diligently review them as part of an internal procedure.

Our thoughts and prayers will continue for the emotional healing of everyone involved and affected by this tragedy.”

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