In Michigan, a police officer shot and killed an unarmed 17 year old while he was fleeing from an officer.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday against Eaton County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jonathan Frost and the county, says the officer was driving a new patrol car on Feb. 28 that had “improperly bright or misaimed headlights, even on low beams.” Deven Guilford, 17, who had been driving to his girlfriend’s house after playing basketball at his church, was one of three drivers to flash their brights at the officer to get him to dim his lights, the suit says. Frost stopped all three drivers.
This is what we know. The officer had three people flash him that night and he stopped all three of them. When he pulled over the 17 year old, not only did the kid fail to give the officer his documentation, he also challenged the officer’s “authoritay.” He had the audacity to ask for the officer’s name and badge number (what a delinquent). After a brief struggle, the officer shot the kid SEVEN times as he fled.
First off, if the officer was flashed three times in one night, did this officer not have the common sense that maybe his car was the problem. Rather than do something about that, he decided that he needed to go Officer Fife on everybody that flashed him.
Regardless of how the kid acted, the officer in this case violated his rights. This very situation was addressed by a SCOTUS decision from 1985 (Tennessee v. Garner). Stopping a fleeing suspect with deadly force is not allowed unless it is clear that the suspect is a danger to the cop or others. Sorry, a 10-15 second struggle where the kid was trying to get away does not constitute a danger.
Let’s not forget he shot the kid seven times. That is well beyond what is reasonable against a person who is both unarmed and fleeing.
Why is the officer not being held accountable? The department has refused to take disciplinary action against him and has even defended the officer’s actions. It is officers like Officer Frost that give good cops a bad name. If good cops do not stand up and hold their fellow officers accountable for their misdeeds, people are going to see them as condoning these actions.