Former Mesa police officer Philip Brailsford [left] and [right]seen leaving Mariocopa courthouse with his wife, was acquitted of all criminal liability after shooting an unarmed man
The Bloody hallway scene after the shooting
A former Arizona cop was cleared of murder on Thursday in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man who cried and begged police for his life just moments before he was shot while prone in a hallway by a light-fingered cop
The verdict cleared Philip Mitchell Brailsford of criminal liability in the death of 26-year-old Daniel Shaver, a married father-of-two from Granbury, Texas.
Mesa police have released footage from Officer Philip “Mitch” Brailsford’s body camera of the fatal shooting of an unarmed Daniel Shaver Texas man at a hotel in 2016.
The jury found Brailsford, 27, not guilty of second-degree murder and also found him not guilty of the lesser charge of reckless manslaughter.
The decision relieved Brailsford’s supporters, including those in the Mesa police union, who said Brailsford made a split-second decision based on his police training.
But it was a devastating blow to Shaver’s family, particularly Laney Sweet, the victim’s widow.
Sweet’s attorney, Mark Geragos, called the shooting an “execution.”
“The justice system miserably failed Daniel [Shaver] and his family,” Geragos said.
Officer Philip Mitchell Brailsford points his rifle at Daniel Shaver who is ordered to kneel down
Officers then order Shaver to crawl towards them, as the scared man entreats them not to shoot him. Minutes later Brailsford fires five shots into the prone man
The shooting occurred in January 2016, after police responded to reports that someone in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa was pointing a gun out the window of La Quinta Inn.
Shaver was unarmed, although police later found two pellet rifles related to his pest-control job inside his hotel room.
Daniel Shaver [left], seen with his wife Laney Sweet [right], was a 26-year-old father-of-two, who was ‘executed’ by a Mesa police officer while face down on the floor in a motel hallway, in Jan 2016
Acquitted of all charges: Ex-police officer Philip ‘Mitch’ Brailsford [left], stand’s next to his attorney Mike Piccarreta in court Oct. 25
Newly-released body camera footage shows responding officers screaming at Shaver to exit his hotel room, lay face down in the hallway, and refrain from making sudden movements.
The graphic video shows Shaver complying with orders to crawl towards the officers when Brailsford fires his rifle.
The former cop said he believed Shaver was grabbing a handgun in his waistband.
A detective investigating the shooting said while it may have looked as if Shaver were reaching for a gun, it also appeared that he was pulling up his loose-fitting basketball shorts that had fallen down when he was ordered to crawl.
Victim: 26-year-old father-of-two, Daniel Shaver and his daughters
The AZcentral reports that Shavers a pest-contrl specialist was in Messa, Arizona on a business related trip. He was staying at the La Quinta Inn and Suites. That night he had been in his room drinking alcohol with two other hotel guests before the fatal confrontation.
Police video from the scene shows Shaver appearing confused by Langley’s commands. At one point, while Shaver was on his knees, he put his hands behind his back and the officer yelled at him to put his hands back up in the air. Langley warned that if he put his hands behind his back again, he was going to be shot, the video shows.
Shaver began to cry and said, “Please don’t shoot me.”
Shaver’s widow, Laney Sweet , withe the girls has fought a relentless battle seeking justice for her slain husband
The officers could have simply handcuffed Shaver while he was on the floor, the detective added.“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,” his attorney Michael Piccarreta said.
“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.”
Brailsford was on the Mesa police force for two years before he was fired for violations of departmental policy, including unsatisfactory performance.
Defence attorney Michael Piccarreta, brought in police-training experts to testify that the shooting was justified.
Mesa police Sgt. Charles Langley, the officer who was in charge of the team who confronted Shaver and had been yelling out the commands, said he was worried Shaver had been reaching for a gun when he put his hands behind his back and later raised his right hand. He told the court he would have shot Shaver, too, except he would have hit Brailsford who front of him.
Langley himself ‘retired’ four months after the fatal shooting.
Detective Paul who Sipe led the investigation into Brailsford’s decision to shoot. told the jury that he became suspicious of the officers’ reports when he noticed they collectively omitted “vital information.”
Mesa homicide Detective Paul Sipe gave testimony that appeared to be contrary to the narrative of Brailsford’s unit on the day of the dhooting and the defense arguements.
When a Mesa police officer shoots a person, the department investigates its own officer and forwards the investigation to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, which then decides if the officer should be charged with a crime.
In this case, Sipe led the investigation into Brailsford’s decision to shoot. Brailsford was charged by the County Attorney’s Office in March 2016.
Sipe told the jury that he became suspicious of the officers’ reports when he noticed they omitted “vital information.”
Sipe didn’t specify what he was talking about and Deputy County Attorney Susie Charbel didn’t ask him to be specific.
However, Charbel noted the common thread that ran through the five written reports from the officers on the scene. They all they left out that Shaver had cried and begged not to be shot. That information became public in Sipe’s supplemental report released two months after the shooting.
Shaver’s widow, Laney Sweet, sen with her lawyer George Geragos shook her head “no” after the jury’s decision to questions from the media. She has filed a civil suit against Mesa police
Shaver’s widow, Laney Sweet, shook her head “no” after the jury’s decision and said she wasn’t going to answer any questions.
Both Sweet and Shaver’s parents have filed wrongful-death lawsuits against the city of Mesa over the shooting death.