"Sgt. Frost then asked for a sixth time for a driver's license, registration and proof of insurance. Deven said, "I do not have my license sir, and am going to get it." He later said "I do not have it... Because I just drove my brother to the church."1
Sgt. Frost tried to conriem this information again, asking "You do not have your driver's license on your person, correct," but Deven replied "Yes, I do... You do not have to see it,." Deven was refusing to show his ID, and focused on continueing to debate the reason for the traffic stop ("you had your brights on, I could not see, I was going to crash... I cannot seem you had your brights on sir, I'm not lying to you, I was just doing that to be polite, I didn't want you to flash someone and have them go off the road and crash."
Sgt. Frost then told Deven that the traffic stop would have been handled totally differently if he had complied. He further told Deven that he was driving a brand new vehicle, that he had been flashed earlier in the shift because the headlights were new and are brighter than on normal cars, and had stopped people earlier but did not issue citations. Deven said, "Oh I'm sorry , then, I'm sorry."
[Footnote 1: Deven had previously driven from Mulliken to a church in Grand Ledge to play nasketball with one of his brothers, afterward, he drove his brother to a store to get a drink and then dropped his brother back at the church and departed westbound on M43, towards Mulliken. Deven uilford's wallet and driver's license had been left in Mulliken.]
Sgt. Frost asked for a seventh time for driver's license, registration and proof of insurance. While he had just apologized, Deven continued his protest, saying "I do not have to give you that." Sgt. Frost told him that "you do have to give me your driver's license." Deven replied, "No," Toward the end of this exchange, Sgt. Frost radioed Central Dispatch to send backup "priority."
As ECSD supervisor who heard this "priority" call for assistance asked Central Dispatch to ask Grand Ledge Police to help because they were closer than any ECSD cars. GLPD Officer Schlossberg heard this call and sped toward the traffic stop on M43, with emergency signals on.
After the seventh request for identification, vehicle paperwork was refused and priority backup was called, Devin appeared to tell Sgt. Frost that he was making a phone call, but did not say who he was calling. 2. Sgt. Frost then acted to get Deven out of the car.
Sgt. Frost Attempts to Arrest Deven
Sgt. Frost explains in his written satement that, at this point, because of statements previously made by Deven during the traffic stop, he suspected that this driver may have been part of a sovereign nation or militia movement and feared that the phone call being made was to summon others to come to the scene. 3. Deven's call was made immediately after Sgt. Frost could be heard radioing for "priority" backup assistance. Sgt. Frost decided at this point to arest Deven for No Operator's License in Possession.
Sgt. Frost opened the driver's door, told Deven to "get out of the car" and grabbed Deven's arm to pull him. Deven replied, "No". Deven's seat belt appeared to restrict him. Deven continued to hold his cell phone in his right hand as Sgt. Frost tried to control his left hand. Deven yelled, "Do not touch me, officer! Do not touch me, you cannot open my car!" As Deven remained in the car and appeared to be focusing on his cell phone, Sgt. Frost backed off and again commanded him to get out of the car.
[Footnote 2: At no time did Deven guilford tell Sgt. Frost the simple truth: that he had borrowed his girlfriend's car to play basketball with his brother at a Grand Ledge church, that he forgot his wallet and was driving back to his girklfriend's home where the wallet was, that he could call his girlfriend so she could confirm the whereabouts oif his driver's license and provide verbal information from the card to Sgt. Frost, or that his girlfriend might even be able to drive the license to their location in a few minutes.
[Footnote 3: MSP investigators confirmed that police bulletins had been sent to agencies to alert law enforcement of this danger. Some of the indictators encountered by Sgt. Frost were Deven's refusal to comply with his requests for a driver's license and registration, asking unusual questions relating to law enforcement authority or denying law enforcement authority over him, filming the encounter, and making a call during the encounter. Bulletins had warned that this could be a request for support from other sovereign citizen associates."]
Sgt. Frost pulled his Taser and told Deven to get out of the car, warning him that he would be tased.
Deven turned and saw the Taser pointed at him. Sgt. Frost repeatedly commanded him to get out oif the car. Deven eventually got out of the car. Sgt. Frost commanded him at Taser-point to "Get on the ground now!" Instead, Deven knelt, holding his cell phone toward the officer. Sgt. Frost told him to "get on the ground", or "on your belly", "facing me." Deven laid down prone on his belly, but remained propped on his elbows, and narrated into his phone. When Sgt. Frost told him to put his arms out to the side, Deven hesitated and put his left arm slightly toward the side but still held his right hand forward so the cell phone would face Sgt. Frost.
Sgt. Frost then appraoched Deven's right side. Deven announced that he did not have a weapon. Sgt. Frost took the cell phone from Deven's hand and tossed it a few feet ahead. 4. Deven responded "You can't do that!" Sgt. Frost reached for Deven's arms as he announced, "Son, get your hands behind your back, you're under arrest," Deven physically resistaed and said "You can't do that."
Sgt. Frost told Deven three times to "get your hands behind your back, you're under (arrest)", but he did not do so. Sgt. Frost then moved slightly backward and fired his Taser at Devin. Devin was still belly down on the edge of the roadway next to the car. The two Taser prongs embedded in Deven's back, but only one probe embedded past the barb. The shot came from too close to achieve the necessary neuro-muscular incapacitation to immobilize Deven so that he could be handcuffed. It is unknown if any minimal "tasing" effect occurred. Deven was struck by the prongs and would have felt pain. He exclaimed, "Ow", and then stood up and attacked Sgt. Frost.
Sgt. Frost's body-cam recorded 14 seconds of this segment of the incident before its lens and wire were dislodged from the recording/battery pack during the altercation. But, a freeze frame sequence from the body-cam does show Deven rising swiftly and coming at Sgt. Frost with his hands and arms raised. The body-cam recording is difficult to interpret at this point because the amount of movement and close-proximity, but it appears to show movement from the clear, dark road surface into the snow covered ground off the roadway. The camera moves violently. Audio recordings of indistinct body movements, scuffling, and breathing can be heard. No more dislogue was recorded until Darren screams after being shot. All video and audio from Sgt. Frost's body-cam ends at this moment.
Just before Deven's screams, Sgt. Frost rapidly shoots his service gun three times. the body-cam's audio did not record the sound of the shots. According to its manufacturer, the sound was too loud and the decibels exceeded the body-cam's recording range. MSP technical services synchronized Deven's celll phone recording to the body-cam recording. Deven's cell phone recorded a 13-14 second gap between the sound of the Taser deployment and him yelling "Ow!" and the first gun shot. The first three gunshots are heard immediately before Deven screams. All seven shots were fired in less than five seconds.
[Footnote 4: the cell phone was not damaged and the video file continued to record for about twenty-five more minutes, until it reached the phone's recording limit.
Sgt. Frost reported that Deven had quickly jumped from the ground and knocked him backwards after the taser deployment. Deven was swinging his fists. Sgt. Frost backpedaled from Deven and reached for his sidearm. Deven hit him in the head several times with his right fist. Sgt. Frost fell to the ground and Deven sat on his hips, repeatedly punching him in the head. Sgt. Frost's head hurt, and he tasted blood in his mouth. His eyesight was blurred by blood running into his eyes. He reported feeling as though he was going to lose consciousness.
Sgt. Frost decided to shoot his attacker, in part because he feared that if he lost all consciousness Deven would take his gun and shoot him.
Sgt. Frost's first attempted gunshot failed. the handgun jammed and the cartridge failed to fire. While he rolled slightly to his side and used both hands to clear the gun (ejecting the unfired cartridge), Sgt. Frost was still being hit on his head. Sgt. Frost then turned the gun toward Deven and fired seven times in rapid succession. Deven was shot seven times, as summarized in the Autopsy report section, below.
Once the shots were fired, the attack stopped, Deven fell to Sgt. Frost's side but was still on top of him. Sgt. Frost pulled himself from underneath Deven and out of the snow. Sgt. Frost stated he was winded, semi-conscious and bleeding heavily. he radioed Central Dispatch that he had shot comeone and that he was injured. Sgt. Frost waited several minutes for officer Schlossberg to arrive and continued to cover (point his gun at) Deven's body.
Officer Schlossberg arrived and found Sgt. Frost kneeling in the snow, covering Deven. Officer Schlossberg handcuffed Deven, but noted no signs of movement or apparent life at that time. Officer Schlossberg relieved Sgt. Frost, and continued to cover Deven. Officer Schlossberg reported that he was concerned that Sgt. Frost was going to lose consciousness. Officer Schlossberg recalled that Sgt. Frost said that the driver had him pinned down, was beating on him or "clobbering" him, and that he had no choice but to shoot.
GLPD Lt. Chris Blievernicht was the next officer to arrive. He found Deven lying prone in the snow, about fifteen feet off the roadway. Sgt. Frost was still kneeling on the snow, looking dazed and rarely raised his head. Lt. Blievernicht saw that Sgt. Frost's holster was filled with snow, preventing him from holstering his weapon. He reported that Sgt. Frost said that the driver ha punched him numerous times in the face, and was "all over him."
ECSD Sgt. Casey Tietsort was the next officer to arrive and found Sgt. Frost bleeding heavily from his head, and saw blood on the front of his uniform jacket and pants.
Sgt. Frost's body-cam recorded events totaling 5 minutes and 39 seconds, as summarized above. Deven's cell phone remained on the shoulder of the road and continued to record audio for about twenty-five more minuted. Sgt. Frost's body-cam lense and wire were found in the snow near Deven's body.
As the scene was being secured, Deven's girlfriend (the registered owner of the motor vehicle that Deven was driving) arrived to the svene. She reported that Deven had left around 7:30 pm to play basketball and forgot his wallet. She had it in her possession when she spoke to police. She stated that, around 8:30 pm, she got a call from Deven's phone but it sounded like someone was running or out of breath. She thought it might have been an accidental call during basketball. A few minutes later, she got another call and heard Deven yell her name and say "You don't have the right to touch me" or "You can't do that." The call ended, and she called back without an answer. (Calling records on her cell phone confirm this chronology.)
Sgt. Frost goes to the hospital
Sgt. Frost was examined at Sparrow Hospital. He reported a near loss of consciousness during the incident and afterward, pain around his left eye, a head laceration, left-side jaw pain, and it felt like his teeth did not fit together. A Sparrow doctor examined Sgt. Frost. He found no loose teeth, but did find bruising to an area near the left eye, a laceration in the middle of his forehead, swelling of his upper lip, and an abrasion on his left forehead. The doctor characterized the injuries as "significant facial trauma" with a possible mandibular (jaw bone) and orbital (eye socket) fracture. Another doctor subsequently looked at CT scans, and found no actual jaw or eye fractures.
.... Deven had seven gunshot entrance wounds on his body, and two exit wounds (one in his back, one in his arm.) Holes in Deven's t-shrt corresponded with injuries to his body. The autopsy report chronicled each of the following injuries but does not specify in which order the occurred:
Head - One bullet entered Deven's upper right front scalp into his right cerebrum and cerebellum, causing multiple skull fractures, This bullet did not exit the body. The main mass of a jacketed bullet was found in the back of the neck, with fragments in the right forehead and brain. The trajectory was from the right-to-left, from the front-to-back, and downward. The shot occurred at close, near-contact range, as evidenced by soot on the skin. No muzzle imprint was noted. The medical examiner has advised that the unjuries caused by this wound would have been fatal.
Toxicology testing reported low levels of THC, the active ingredient in marihuana, and caffeine.
.. active THC level (7.2 ng/mL) suggests that Deven last used marihuana within 3-4 hours or sooner... A pill bottle labeled "Green Crack, 90% Sativa / 10% Indicia, 1 gram" was found in the car's arm rest. A partially smoked hand-rolled cigarette containing an unknown substance was found inside this pill bottle.
Recent Life events
As recorded on both the body-cam and Deven's own cell ohone, Deven was defiant toward the officer's authority. He challenged the reason for the traffic stop, questioned the legitimacy of the officer's position as a law enforcement officer, refused to provide identification and other required vehicle information after numerous requests, refused to get out of the car when ordered to do so, did not comply with demands so he could be arrested and forcibly resisted, opposed or obstructed Sgt. Frost's efforts to handcuff him; all while he was focused on documenting his encounter.
Deven's father and girlfriend reported that, in the days and weeks preceding this traffic stop, Deven was focused on YouTube videos of police encounteres with citizens. While not expressing harsh anti-police rhetoric, Deven was supporting the videos as examples of police violating people's rights and "how bad cops are." They said that Deven's focus on these videos was recent, sudden, out of the ordinary, and may have influenced Deven in this traffic stop. His father reported that, in recent days, he tried to counsel his son that these videos did not show how all police acted. Deven's act of recording the traffic stop may have been intended for YouTube. Deven held his phone to focus on Sgt. Frost and narrated, "This is what American..." as Sgt. Frost ordered him to put the phone down and move his arms to his side so he could be handcuffed.
Pg. 12 notes "Michigan's Motor Vehicle Code prohibits a driver from using high beams or any lights that will project into oncoming drivers' eyes within 500 feet of oncoming vehicles. MCL 257.700 states.. "that glaring rays are not projected into the eyes of the oncoming drive."
The Taser was deployed too close to Deven's body for the two prongs to separate at least four inches before attaching to him.. both prongs did not fully embed, as needed.
..Deven was only stung by the prong and possible minimal tasing, and reacted with immediate rage against Sgt. Frost. It did not incapacitate him so that Deven could be handcuffed. Sgt. Frost's response was measured and lawful under the circumstances. Sgt. Frost followed MCOLES guidelines on use of force, in particular his decision to use his taser.
Based on sound public policy to avoid public confrontations like this case, people are required to submit to police authority and challenge perceived errors later in court. If Deven had been ticketed or criminally charged, he could have challenged the reason for stop, or his excuse for not having his license. The judge or magistrate could have heard evidence and decided whether Deven was correct or not under Michigan law. Roadsides are not the proper venue for such debates.
Michigan law gives a person the right to use force or even take a life to defend him'herself or another person under certain circumstances... law enforcement officers have the same privilege of self defense as anyone else.
Decision not to charge - Based upon a review of the facts and the law, Deven was the initial physical aggressor, and presented an immediate danger of great bodily harm or even death to Sgt. Frost.
Sgt. Frost was not the aggressor, Deven was.
.. as such, Sgt. Frost was legally justified in shooting Deven in self defense.
.. Deven's cell phone videos corroborate Sgt. Frost's account of events, including when all seven gunshots occurred (all occurred in a 4-5 second time span.)
Upon review of the investigation concluded by the Michigan State Police, the Office of the Eaton County Prosecutor, Doug Lloyd, has determined that the evidence shows that Sgt. Frost acted in a lawful manner, and was reasonable in using deadly force to defend against the physical attack of him by Deven Guilford. While, in retrospect, both Deven and Sgt. Frost could have made different choices, ultimately this tragedy would not have occurred if Deven Guilford had not physically attacked Sgt. Frost.
[The full report may be found here: