- Associated Press - Sunday, January 29, 2017

CHARLOTTE, Mich. (AP) - Eaton County has been dismissed from a federal lawsuit filed by the family of a teenager who was fatally shot by a sheriff’s deputy in 2015.

Attorneys for Deven Guilford’s family filed paperwork Friday agreeing to dismiss the county from their lawsuit, meaning the only defendant is now Eaton County Sgt. Jonathan Frost, The Lansing State Journal reports (https://on.lsj.com/2k6loDs )

Frost shot Guilford seven times following a struggle with the 17-year-old during a traffic stop on Feb. 28, 2015. The officer had stopped Guilford for flashing his high-beam headlights at him. The teenager was unarmed.

The local prosecutor later cleared Frost of criminal wrongdoing. Guilford’s father filed the lawsuit four months later, in October 2015, alleging that Frost’s “entire course of action was illegal” and violated the teenager’s rights.

The family’s attorney, Cynthia Heenan, said the decision to remove the county from the lawsuit came after depositions were completed.

“We did not feel that we would be able to establish, as a matter of law, that the county had patterns and practices that were blatantly unconstitutional,” Heenan said.

The county will continue to pay for Frost’s legal expenses, according to Eaton County Controller John Fuentes.

Frost’s attorney, James Dyer, said he wasn’t surprised by the county’s dismissal from the lawsuit, which is scheduled for trial on July 31. Dyer said the lawsuit against the county never had merit.

Guilford’s father, Brian Guilford, said Friday that he still feels the county bears some responsibility for his son’s death. He said the case has been frustrating for his family.

“More than anything I just don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” he said.


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

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