A not guilty verdict has been delivered in the trial of a former police officer accused of murdering a man in a hotel hallway in 2016. New video of the incident shows the entire episode. Philip Mitchell Brailsford, 27, responding to a 911 call, gives orders to 26-year-old Daniel Shaver, who appears compliant. But when Shaver moved to adjust his waistband, Brailsford shot him.
Brailsford had been charged with second degree murder in the death of Shavers. During the investigation, media seized on the detail that the dust cover of Brailsford’s AR-15 had the phrase “You’re Fucked” written on the inside.
The Mesa, AZ police would later fire Officer Brailsford for procedural violations. The video alone could justify that decision, as it shows a shooting that was, ultimately, preventable.
Brailsford ordered Shaver out of his room at the La Quinta Hotel in Mesa. Shaver complied, and lay face-down on the floor. This was recorded by the body camera that shows the scene unfolding in front of Brailsford’s AR-15.
Shaver appears to understand the commands he’s given and raises his hands accordingly.He then says “please don’t kill me.”
What happens next is still a controversy. Brailsford asks Shaver to come forward. He didn’t hold the compliant Shaver at gunpoint to wait for back-up, but ordered the man forward.
Shaver, walking on his knees, moves forward. He then reached for the waistband of his pants. Some argue that this was becasue walking on his knees was pulling them down. Regardless, the officer fired.
Brailsford argued that he believed Shaver was going for a handgun in his waistband. After six hours of deliberation, the jury agreed.
Shaver’s family’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, characterized the shooting as “an execution pure and simple.”
“The justice system miserably failed Daniel and his family,” he said.
Brailsford’s attorney, Michael Piccarreta, sees it differently. “There are no winners in this case, but Mitch Brailsford had to make a split-second decision on a situation that he was trained to recognize as someone drawing a weapon and had one second to react.”
“He didn’t want to harm Mr. Shaver… The circumstances that night that were presented led him to conclude that he was in danger. Try to make a decision in one second, life or death. It’s pretty hard.”
Shaver’s widow, Laney Sweet, The Daily Mail notes, has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city of Mesa.