- Associated Press - Friday, December 4, 2015

GRAND LEDGE, Mich. (AP) - An application to put a float in a holiday parade has been denied for a community group supporting the family of a teenager fatally shot by an Eaton County sheriff’s deputy.

Deven Guilford, 17, of Mulliken was shot seven times by the deputy during a traffic stop Feb. 28 in Roxand Township. The float application made by a group called Deven’s Voice was denied by the Grand Ledge Chamber of Commerce for the Friday night parade, the Lansing State Journal (https://on.lsj.com/1IJqSsd ) reports.

Angela Mulder, a leader of Deven’s Voice, said the application was denied because it was deemed “too volatile.” She said the float was meant to honor the teen’s life.

Chamber Executive Director Jill Russell said the board unanimously denied the float’s entry. She said the parade isn’t “the venue for such a divisive issue,” but that it doesn’t mean there isn’t sympathy over a family grieving a lost child.

“Of course we can sympathize with the situation but we don’t want to incite more division within the community,” she said.

Guilford was pulled over for flashing his high-beam headlights. Authorities say Guilford was uncooperative and punched the deputy in the face, and the deputy claims he shot Guilford in self-defense.

Guilford’s family filed a federal lawsuit against the county and deputy in October, arguing the teen’s civil rights were violated and that the deputy used excessive force. A prosecutor has said the deputy will not be charged. An internal review found the deputy acted reasonably and didn’t violate department rules.

Deven’s Voice plans to park its float, which will be a snowplow truck with holiday lights and Guilford’s name, at the end of the parade. The group will collect cold weather gear for a nonprofit and serve treats and cocoa for children. Mulder said Guilford’s family will also have a table with information on his death.


Information from: Lansing State Journal, https://www.lansingstatejournal.com

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