Reprint: December 8, 2017
Former Arizona policeman, Phillip Brailsford, was cleared of murder on Thursday in the fatal shooting of Daniel Shaver, an unarmed man who cried and begged police not to pull the trigger just moments before he was killed. The verdict cleared Brailsford, of criminal liability and reckless manslaughter. The shooting occurred in January 2016, after police responded to reports that someone was pointing a gun out the window of La Quinta Inn in Mesa Arizona. Brailsford ordered Shaver and his wife to exit his hotel room, lay face-down and refrain from making any sudden movements, “or you will be shot.” Shavers wife was taken into custody first, after complying with the officers commands. But Shaver was nervous and had a hard time concentrating on the officers commands. Shaver, sobbed and begged the police not to shoot him as he crawled toward officers. As he crawled forward, he reached toward the waistband of his shorts. Brailsford said he fired his semi automatic weapon because he believed Shaver was grabbing for a handgun in his waistband. While no gun was found on Shaver, two pellet rifles related to his pest-control job were found in his room. A detective investigating the shooting said it may have looked as if Shaver were reaching for a gun, but it also appeared that he was pulling up his loose-fitting basketball shorts that had fallen down when he was ordered to crawl. The investigator also said, he did not see anything that would have prevented officers from simply handcuffing Shaver as he was on the floor. Shaver’s widow, Laney Sweet, and Shaver’s parents have filed wrongful-death lawsuits against the city of Mesa. Brailsford was fired for violations of departmental policy, including unsatisfactory performance. The stunning video of the incident can be seen below.
Warning: This video is graphic and shows a person being killed.
In January 2018 Brailsford filed for bankruptcy. Later that year he was rehired by the Mesa police in what was called a “budget position,” whatever that means. The department agreed to reimburse Brailsford for medical expenses related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to his shooting of Shaver and the resultant criminal trial. Now that’s a new one, you shoot somebody dead with an automatic weapon, the court exonerates you and then make a claim for post-traumatic stress disorder. His employment at the police station only lasted for 42 days before he received a medical pension of $2500 a month. Recent records from his bankruptcy indicate he is now working for a steel company in Glendale Arizona. As for the lawsuit for wrongful death filed by Shaver’s widow, Laney Sweet, and Shaver’s parent, a federal judge granted immunity to all four police officers involved in shooting and killing of Daniel Shavers.