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Family Sues Officer For Negligence That Lead To Their Son's Tragic Death

Deven Guilford is a 17-year-old high school junior who was shot and killed by a Michigan police officer during a roadside encounter.

His family is now suing that police officer, claiming the cop violated the teen's civil rights during the stop that began when the teen flashed his lights at the officer's car. In addition, they are also suing Eaton county after prosecutors failed to charge the officer, Sgt. Jonathan Frost, in the February 28 encounter that ended with the teen being shot seven times.

Frost claims Guilford had punched him in the face during the stop and that he had acted in self-defense. Yet, the teen's family say that Guilford had never been in a fight and accused frost of violating their son's constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

Furthermore, video of the incident partially captured on Guilford's cell phone and Frost's bodycam do not show the purported punch or ensuing skirmish. Guilford was driving to his girlfriend's house in Roxand Township when he flashed his high beams at Frost's patrol car. After Frost pulled the teen over, Guilford said he had flashed his lights because the cop's headlights were on high beam. Frost said that his high beams were not on and demanded Guilford's license and registration, to which the teen repeatedly refused.

In the video Guilford says, "You had your brights on, sir. I'm not lying to you. I was just doing that to be polite. I didn't want you to flash someone and have someone go off the road and crash." Frost said: "Do you realize that if you had complied with this traffic stop, it would have gone a whole different way for you?" Frost then tries to pull Guilford out of the car.

The teen resisted and the officer used his Taser to subdue him, which did not work. The officer's bodycam then cut out and the teen's cell phone dropped. The family's lawyer, Cynthia Heenan, said, "Deven's tragic and totally unnecessary death represents a disturbing trend of demanding 100 percent compliance with police authority, coupled with zero tolerance of risk of harm to police officers. Whatever happened to protect and serve?"

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