The last minutes of Deven Guilford's life.
Back in February of this year, Deven Guilford, a 17-year-old driving to his girlfriend's house after playing a basketball game at a church, was pulled over for a routine traffic stop in rural Michigan. Eaton County Sheriff's Sgt. Jonathan Frost told Guilford that he was pulling him over for flashing his brights at the police vehicle. Guilford said that Frost had his brights on which was why he "flashed" him. Frost disagreed and everything completely deteriorated from there.
The traffic stop took place in the dark on a rural stretch of the road in Rox and Township, illuminated only by headlights and Frost's flashlight. By the end Guilford had been shot seven times, once in the head and six times in the upper body at close range.
The incident up until the shooting is captured on a body camera being worn by Frost and a cell phone camera being held by Guilford. A few things to keep in mind when watching the interaction:
1) The police SUV being driven by Frost is new and according to the wrongful death lawsuit being filed by Guilford's parents:
Guilford flashed the headlights of the car he was driving at the sheriff department’s new SUV as Frost drove it the opposite way on State Highway 43, according to the complaint. The Ford Explorer had “improperly bright or misaimed headlights” and Frost had stopped two other drivers for flashing their lights at him that night, the lawsuit said.
While Guilford is very argumentative during the interaction, unwilling to give up a driver's license he tells the officer he doesn't have (it was at his girlfriend's home), Frost is an adult with a few weapons in his possession, supposed training, and a brand-new police vehicle he can get into to protect himself from this unarmed 17-year-old, wearing a T-shirt with the yin and yang symbol on it. Instead, Frost forces Guilford onto the ground, kicks away his phone camera and then tasers Guilford. This results in Guilford running away while Frost chases him. The camera ends there. According to the Eaton County Prosecutor Doug Lloyd, when they exonerated Frost for killing Guilford, here's what happened next:
•Guilford was able to get up and charge at Frost, Lloyd said. Still images of the video, blurred during this exchange, show Guilford moving toward Frost.
•Frost backed up, said Lloyd, and he and Guilford moved off to the side of the road.
Frost's body camera was knocked off into the snow during the altercation but Guilford's cell phone, laying on the pavement by his car, kept recording.
Lloyd said the struggle ended with Guilford on top of Frost in a roadside ditch. Guilford was hitting Frost in the face, he said.
Lloyd said Frost reported that he feared he would lose consciousness and that Guilford would take his gun. Lloyd said Frost felt he needed to defend himself and used his gun to do so.
Lloyd said Frost's gun did not fire at first, but Frost ejected an unfired round and eventually 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.
You can see the decision to not charge Frost here
. There is a photo of Frost from that incident and it seems very clear that Frost got pretty bashed to his face. The problems are a few: Guilford's civil liberties were clearly violated by Frost. Guilford may
have correctly surmised that when Frost pulled him over, it was a trap. Therefore, when Frost kicks away Guilford's cell phone it is not hard to imagine that Guilford began to fear for his life. When Frost ineptly tasered Guilford, Guilford might have thought he was going to die if he didn't do something.
Both Guilford and Frost could have handled things much differently that February night which would have resulted in Guilford still being alive today. However, only one of them is an adult with a gun and the responsibility to protect the other. I await the NRA and the #AllLivesMatter people's protests of the Easton County Sheriff's office.
You can watch a split screen of both Frost's body camera and Guilford's camera phone video, below the fold.