CHARLOTTE, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – A lawsuit over the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager by a Michigan sheriff’s officer has been settled for $2.4 million.
“This has been a tragedy for everyone involved,” said Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reich, in a statement. “Our hearts go out to them and we know no amount of money can replace their loss.”
John Fuentes, who handles finances for Eaton County, says he hopes the deal allows Deven Guilford’s family to “mourn their loss privately” outside contested litigation.
Sgt. Jonathan Frost shot the 17-year-old seven times during a traffic stop in 2015. The officer had stopped Guilford for flashing his high-beam headlights.
Guilford refused to give his driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. Frost says he was being punched by Guilford and feared for his life when he began shooting, although a judge said parts of the officer’s version seemed “almost inconceivable.”
Guilford’s family accused Frost of excessive force. Without a settlement, the case would have gone to trial.
“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,” said attorney James Dyer, who represented both Sgt. Frost and Eaton County in the lawsuit. “The settlement will at least help avoid a long, protracted and painful legal battle for everyone involved.”
The settlement — which Dyer said does not include an admission of liability — will be paid by the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority (MMRMA), Eaton County’s pooled risk manager.
© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.