Judge allows 2 counts of lawsuit against police sergeant in the death of Deven Guilford to proceed to trial

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WILX) The lawsuit filed in the death of Deven Guilford will proceed to trial. A federal judge denied a motion for summary judgment on two claims of excessive force by Eaton County Sheriff's Sergeant Jonathan Frost. The judge granted Frost's request to dismiss another claim of excessive force and one of unlawful stop, seizure and arrest.

Frost shot and killed Guilford following a traffic stop on M-43 in Roxand Township in February of 2015. He says he pulled Guilford over for flashing his high beams. Frost's body camera footage shows Guilford refused to provide his driver's license, registration or proof of insurance. Frost then dragged Guilford out of his car and used his stun gun when Guilford refused to put his hands behind his back so Frost could cuff him. What happened next is in dispute. They ended up in a ditch where Frost claims Guilford beat him to the point that he feared for his life and was forced to shoot the teenager. He shot Guilford 7 times. Guilford's family claims the shot that killed him went into his head at a downward angle, meaning he could not have been on top of Frost at the time. The medical examiner says the shots were fired at close range and it's impossible to tell from where they were fired.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul Maloney ruled that Sergeant Frost is entitled to qualified immunity, which protects public workers from lawsuits stemming from their official duties as long as they do not violate someone's constitutional rights. For that reason, he dismissed the claim of unlawful stop, seizure and arrest and one claim of excessive force, which covers everything that happened up to the use of the stun gun. Judge Maloney allowed the case to proceed on the other two claims of excessive force, saying " factual disputes preclude summary judgment."

Frost's lawyer has not said if he will appeal the ruling to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. News 10 and wilx.com will provide updates on this case as it heads towards trial.



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