A traffic stop for high beams that lead to the death of a 17-year-old has been been ruled a justified shooting.
Prosecutor Doug Lloyd reviewed the video footage from both footage from Sgt. Jonathan Frost’s body camera and teenager Devon Guilford’s cell phone, the Lansing State Journal reports.
Both videos clearly show the traffic stop and lead up to the shooting yet both were knocked to the ground, leaving only audio of the shots fired.
“No one wins in these particular situations, but it’s the prosecutor’s responsibility to look at the facts, make a determination from the facts — was there a crime or was there not a crime?” Lloyd said.
Guilford was uncooperative from the start of the encounter, refusing to hand over his driver’s license, registration and insurance information despite repeated commands from Sergeant Frost, an 8-year-veteran of the force. When Frost attempted to remove Guilford from the car, the teen resisted again.
Held at taser point, Guilford finally obeyed Frost’s commands to get on the ground but as Frost went to place cuffs on him, the teen fought back. Frost deployed the taser but only one prong found it’s mark, rendering it ineffective.
The fight continued in the ditch on the side of the road with Guilford landing on top of and repeatedly punching Frost. Lloyd said Frost could feel blood in his mouth and felt he was about to lose consciousness before he removed his gun from the holster. Frost’s gun did not fire at first, but he ejected an unfired round, chambered a new round and fired seven shots at close range in four seconds, all of which struck Guilford.
With the judge’s decision Frost will be removed from administrative leave and resume patrol duties. The Guilford family plans to file a federal wrongful death suit.
“The family is very unhappy,” said family attorney Hugh Davis. “It’s just very hard to go from dimming lights or not dimming lights to being dead.”