LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - An announcement made Thursday morning in the case of Deven Guilford, who was killed by an officer during a traffic stop in 2015 was released regarding a settlement between the two parties.
Attorney James Dyer, who represents Sgt. Jon Frost and Eaton County, stated that "in an effort to bring peace to the family of Deven Guilford," both parties have agreed to a $2.4 million settlement.
The Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority, Eaton County’s pooled risk manager, will be paying for the settlement.
“During the settlement process, Sgt. Frost personally asked Judge Kent to help bring peace and closure to the Guilford family. We know no settlement amount will bring back their son, but like the Guilford family, Jon thinks about and prays for Deven Guilford every day. This settlement will at least help avoid a long, protracted and painful legal battle for everyone involved,” said Dyer
The settlement was reached after conferences with Magistrate Judge Ray Kent, and the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Mediation Office.
“The settlement requires that the lawsuit pending in the federal District Court in Grand Rapids be dismissed with prejudice, and that Deven’s personal representative sign a general release of liability preventing any further claims. The settlement amount and distribution must be approved by the trial court. It does not include an admission of liability. I expect that the parties will shortly file the necessary documents to begin that process,” said Dyer.
Deven Guilford was killed during a traffic stop in February 2015. The Sheriff's Department says Sergeant Jonathon Frost, an 8-year veteran of the department in 2015, fired his weapon at Guilford after being injured during a struggle with the teen. This happened on M-43 in Roxand Township.
Frost is on record saying that Guilford was pulled 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 - reports say the two 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 aunt, Denise Smith, isn’t resting until there is justice for her 17-year-old nephew.
Time has passed however time hasn't made Deven's death any easier.
Smith doesn't think the settlement is justice. Instead, she wants Frost to say he didn't need to shoot her nephew.
“It is a letdown of the county and many people around that do not want to do the right thing and it negatively affects so many people when they don't do the right thing,” said Smith.
More than two years later a cross remains where Guilford was killed in his memory.
Also held in memory, rallies held at the state capitol where out of tragedy has come at least some sense of healing.
“It’s nice to have a lot of people in similar situations and they’re out supporting you,” said Smith. “It brings you to a greater sense of community with so many that were there and had an interested and were really concerned.”