WATCH: Mesa Police Officer Found Not Guilty of Murder in Shooting of Unarmed Man

A Maricopa County jury on Thursday found former Mesa police Officer Philip “Mitch” Brailsford not guilty of second-degree murder charges in the 2016 shooting of an unarmed Texas man who was on his knees begging for his life.

Jurors deliberated for less than six hours over two days, finishing Thursday afternoon. The eight-member jury also found Brailsford not guilty of the lesser charge of reckless manslaughter.

The packed courtroom in Maricopa County Superior Court was quiet after one of Judge George Foster’s clerks read the verdict.

Brailsford was one of two officers in Arizona since 2005 who had been charged with murder in connection with an on-duty shooting.

The case ends during a time when on-duty police shootings have received heightened scrutiny. Some shootings, particularly those recorded on video, have prompted protests throughout the U.S.

Mesa police have released footage from Officer Philip “Mitch” Brailsford’s body camera of the fatal shooting of an unarmed Texas man at a hotel in 2016. This edited video shows the moments leading up Daniel Shaver’s death. Mesa Police Department

Brailsford’s acquittal came after impassioned closing arguments that offered contrasting narratives of why Brailsford shot and killed 26-year-old Daniel Shaver in a hotel hallway two years ago.

Shaver was kneeling, crying and begging not to be shot after he was confronted by six Mesa police officers in a La Quinta Inn & Suites hallway Jan. 18, 2016. Brailsford, who was fired two months after the shooting, testified that he fired his AR-15 rifle five times because it appeared Shaver was reaching for a gun.

“If this situation happened exactly as it did that time, I would have done the same thing,” Brailsford said in his testimony.

Laney Sweet, Shaver’s widow, said she had no comment to make about the verdict as, crying, she exited an elevator with family.

Mark Geragos, Sweet’s lawyer, called the shooting an “execution.”

“The justice system miserably failed Daniel (Shaver) and his family,” Geragos said.

Brailsford’s lawyer, Michael Piccarreta, said he had expected the jury would come back with a positive outcome for his client.

“We had confidence that the jury would recognize this as a tragedy, not a murder, and that Mitch Brailsford acted in a split-second as he was trained,” he said.

After the verdict, Brailsford and his family were escorted by a Maricopa County sheriff’s deputy out of the courtroom through a back door.

Footage of shooting, captured on two police on-body cameras, formed the foundation of the prosecution’s case. The judge did not allow jurors to hear about an etching on the dust cover of the rifle Brailsford used to shoot Shaver, which said “You’re f–ked,” because he felt it was prejudicial.

Throughout the trial, which began in late October, Deputy County Attorney Susie Charbel portrayed Brailsford as a “killer” who claimed he feared for his life to cover up an unjustified shooting.

In her closing arguments, Charbel told the jury that an intoxicated Shaver looked “pathetic” before he was killed and didn’t get a chance to know who shot him.

“(Brailsford) doesn’t get a pass because he was wearing a police uniform that night,” Charbel said.

Piccarreta said Brailsford followed the tactics of a well-trained officer. If jurors believe the training is wrong, he said, that’s not something Brailsford should be accountable for.

Piccarreta said Brailsford shot Shaver because he was protecting himself, five other officers and a woman police had taken into custody.

“The last thing in the world that Mitch Brailsford wanted to do that night was shoot. His goal wasn’t to kill Daniel Shaver,” Piccarreta told the jury. “Shaver is not a bad person, but his actions are what brought the police that night.”

For full story visit: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/mesa-breaking/2017/12/07/philip-brailsford-verdict-daniel-shaver-killing/927052001/

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5645 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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