WATCH: Deven Guilford’s Family Reaches $2.4M Settlement in Son’s Death by Eaton County Officer

CHARLOTTE – The family of an unarmed teenager shot and killed during a traffic stop more than two years ago has settled a federal lawsuit against the police officer who shot him for $2.4 million, attorneys for his family said Thursday.

The settlement comes just over two months after federal Judge Paul Maloney declined to dismiss the lawsuit by Deven Guilford’s parents against Eaton County Sgt. Jonathan Frost, allowing two claims of excessive force against Frost to proceed.

Deven’s father said the decision to settle was “emotional” and “difficult.” He said the family acted on the advice of their attorneys, but still struggles with finding closure over the death of their son.

“The life we had is no more,” Brian Guilford said Thursday. “I don’t think it’s something people can understand unless they’ve lost a child.”

The settlement is with Frost. The Guilford family agreed to dismiss Eaton County from the lawsuit in January, though Eaton County Controller John Fuentes said the county would continue to pay for Frost’s legal expenses, as well as any settlement or judgement that could be awarded if the case went to trial.

“Ending this matter, will hopefully allow the family to mourn their loss privately and not continue to be faced with their pain publicly through the course of a protracted legal battle,” Fuentes said in a statement.

Frost is still employed with the sheriff’s office.

The settlement requires that the lawsuit be dismissed “with prejudice” and that the Guilford family sign a general release of liability preventing any further claims, James Dyer, an attorney for Eaton County and Frost said in a statement after the settlement was announced.

“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,” Dyer said. “This settlement will at least help avoid a long, protracted and painful legal battle for everyone involved.”

Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reich released a statement regarding the settlement Thursday afternoon.

“This has been a tragedy for everyone involved,” Reich said. “Our hearts go out to them and we know no amount of money can replace their loss.”

The county is insured through the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority, a self-insurance pool for public agencies, according to Fuentes. It is obligated to pay the first $150,000 of the cost of defending a lawsuit through a system known as “self-insurance retention.” Coverage is capped at $15 million per incident, he said.

Brian Guilford said he wishes “no harm” against Frost, saying it “would not help my soul one bit,” and that he prays for healing for all involved.

He said the family hoped the lawsuit would force the sheriff’s department to change its policies and take a different approach to policing. He’s not confident the family was able to accomplish that.

His family wants to heal, he added, but hasn’t yet. The long legal battle was wearing on them, and they’ve had very few “good days” since Deven died. Attorneys had told the family the lawsuit could continue for several more years before a trial.

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