Deven Guilford

devenGUILFORDRead Washington Post article and watch police video

Summary: On February 28, 2015 Deven Guilford was driving at night and encountered an oncoming car which he thought was driving with its high beams on making if difficult for him to see. He tried to alert the oncoming driver by flashing his high beams. The oncoming car was driven by Eaton County Sheriff Sgt. Jonathan Frost who stopped Deven because of the headlight flashing. Deven explained that he flashed because Frost’s bright lights made it very difficult to see. Frost denied that his brights were on, but volunteered that he had detained several other drivers who had likewise flashed him. Frost asked Deven for his license, registration, and proof of insurance. Deven stalled in complying with this request and instead asked if he was being detained, and for what charge. Deven then admitted to Frost that he did not have his license on his person, and rightly or wrongly, continued to insist that he had committed no crime and that he therefore didn’t need to show this requested information. Frost called for backup. Prior to backup arriving, Frost tries unsuccessfully to pull Deven from his car. This failing, Frost threatens to tase Deven if he refuses to exit. Deven complies, exits his car, and lays on the ground in his tee shirt. Frost apparently felt he wasn’t complying fast enough and tased Deven several times. Fourteen seconds later, Frost shot Deven seven times killing him.

Facts (as clearly observed on the bodycam video):

  • Deven Guilford committed no crime whatsoever except to flash an oncoming car to alert them that their brights appeared to be on.
  • Deven told the Frost he was unarmed, and presented no threat.
  • Deven displayed no aggression and made no attempt to flee.
  • Deven made it clear he didn’t want to confront Frost and made every effort to remain in his car.
  • Frost called for backup support, but chose to act on his own prior to this backup arriving.
  • Frost tried unsuccessfully to extract Deven from his vehicle, when this failed, Frost forces Deven to exit his vehicle under threat of physical harm from his taser.
  • Deven complied with Frost’s demands/theats, he was tased by Frost several times as he was lying on the ground, then a few seconds later, was shot dead by Frost.
  • Eaton County Prosecuting Attorney Douglas R. Lloyd announced that charges will not be issued against Sgt. Frost. The case will not be brought before a Grand Jury and will not be independently reviewed by the people.
    (Read the full Pr Attorney press release)
    IF THIS INITIATIVE IS PASSED, and this case was submitted for consideration before a People’s Grand Jury the details would probably be as follows:

    Plaintiff: Sgt. Jonathan Frost
    Crime: Betraying Your Oath of Office
    Specific Violations:Sgt. Frost swore to support the U.S. and Michigan Constitutions. The 5th Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees that life may not be taken without due process of law. This “due process of law” is codified in Michigan, under MCL 780.951, which defines when deadly force may be used (Full Text of MCL Section 780.951) and requires:
    1) The individual using deadly force must be in honest fear for their life.
    *** AND ***
    2) The individual against who deadly force is used must be in process of committing a crime.
    *** AND ***
    3) Deadly force cannot be used against an individual who has a legal right to be in the dwelling or vehicle.

    FIRST CONDITION — The individual using deadly force must be in honest fear for their life: POSSIBLY MET — The Prosecuting attorney stated that the first condition was met, but remember from viewing the video with your own eyes, Deven was not armed, did not want to exit his vehicle, and never showed any aggression to Frost, until possibly during the last 10 seconds of the video which were blanked out, where Deven was being tased while he lay on the ground. Frost forced this confrontation by not waiting for backup, forcing Deven out of his vehicle, and inflicting intense pain on Deven as he lay defenseless.

    SECOND CONDITION — The individual against who deadly force is used must be in process of committing a crime: NOT MET — Deven did not commit a crime except for flashing an oncoming car alerting the driver that their brights might be on — a universal signal. No other crime was ever committed — he did not flee, was not aggressive, and grudgingly complied with the demands of Frost.

    THIRD CONDITION — Deadly force cannot be used against an individual who has a legal right to be in the dwelling or vehicle: NOT MET — Deven had every right to be in the vehicle he was driving. Review of the tape. The ownership of the vehicle was never in question.

    According to “due process of law”, ALL THESE REQUIRED CONDITIONS MUST BE MET TO USE DEADLY FORCE WHETHER BY A CITIZEN OR POLICE. At least two, and possibly all three of the conditions for the use of deadly force DO NOT SEEM TO HAVE BEEN MET.

    If any individual had committed this act in Michigan, without definitively meeting all three conditions for use of deadly force, they would correctly have been bound over for trial before a jury of their peers for determination of guilt or innocence. Why is it different for this police officer?

    The guilt or innocence of Frost will not be determined by the People’s Grand Jury. This jury will review the evidence, listen to direct testimony from both sides, then determine if there is sufficient justification to forward the case to a court for a trial by jury. A jury of the people would determine guilt or innocence — not the People’s Grand Jury.

    If Frost was found guilty — in court by a jury of his peers — of betraying his oath of office, the next logical step would be to have him charged with murder by the prosecuting attorney allowing a jury of his peers to review his actions and decide justice — again, as would be done with any other individual committing this act.