In a rare instance of accountability involving a fatal police shooting, the death of an Arizona man led to charges and a trial for Mesa Police Department officer Philip "Mitch" Brailsford. But as is common, Brailsford was acquitted of second-degree murder charges.
A judge released graphic video Friday showing Daniel Shaver crawling down a hotel hallway on hands and knees, pleading for his life, just moments before Brailsford shot and killed him.
The shooting...occurred after officers responded to a call about a man allegedly pointing a rifle out of a fifth-floor window at a La Quinta Inn. Inside the room, Shaver, 26, had been doing rum shots with a woman he had met earlier that day and showing off a pellet gun he used in his job in pest control.
After Shaver and the woman exit the hotel room, Brailsford orders them to the ground, and Shaver tells the officer no one else is in the room. Brailsford tells Shaver if he makes another mistake, both he and the woman could get shot.
“I’m not here to be tactical and diplomatic with you. You listen. You obey,” Brailsford says.
Shaver is told to put his hands on top of his head and then cross his left foot over his right. At this point, Brailsford again informs Shaver he might be shot:
“If you move, we’re going to consider that a threat and we are going to deal with it and you may not survive it,” Brailsford said.
After more commands and screaming by Brailsford, Shaver eventually crawls down the hallway toward the officer, crying. When he stops an reaches back - possibly to pull up his shorts that were falling down - Brailsford opens fire, and Shaver is struck five times.
According to the police report, Brailsford was carrying an AR-15 rifle with the phrase “You’re F—ed” etched into the weapon. The police report also said the “shots were fired so rapidly that in watching the video at regular speed, one cannot count them.”
Brailsford testified in court that he believed Shaver was reaching for a gun. No gun was found on Shaver’s body. Two pellet rifles used in Shaver’s pest-control job were later found in the hotel room.
“It demonstrates that the officer had to make a split-second decision when [Shaver] moved his hands toward the small of his back after being advised that if he did, he’d be shot,” [Brailsford’s attorney, Mike] Piccarreta told The Post in 2016.