The former Arizona cop preparing to go to trial for shooting and killing an unarmed man in a hotel hallway last year is now arguing that it would be “unfair” to show the jury body cam footage of the shooting.
But the footage is probably the strongest piece of evidence that will determined whether or not Mesa police officer Philip “Mitch” Brailsford truly feared for his life when he shot and killed Daniel Shaver after ordering him to come crawling towards him on January 18, 2016.
Brailsford, who has since been fired, described it a “terrifying” experience, but so do all cops who shoot and kill unarmed citizens. That’s just Cop Spin 101.
Shaver was a pest control worker from Texas who was staying in a La Quinta Inn in Mesa when he met up with two acquaintances and brought them to his room to show them his pellet gun.
At one point, he or somebody in the room was pointing the pellet gun out the fifth-floor window, which prompted somebody on the ground floor to call police.
Several Mesa police officers responded and made their way up to the fifth-floor, ordering everybody outside the room. Shaver, who was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, no longer had the pellet gun in his hand.
But police still ordered him down on his hands and knees and ordered him to come crawling towards them.
“Please don’t shoot me,” Shaver pleaded, according to witness statements.
But Shaver’s shorts slipped off as he was crawling towards them, which is when his hand instinctively reached down to hold them up.
And that Brailsford claimed, made him fear for his life, prompting him to fire five rounds from his personal AR-15 with the words, “You’re Fucked” inscribed on it.
Five other cops that had their guns trained on Shaver did not fire, so evidently, they were not as terrified as Brailsford, the son of a veteran internal affairs cop with the Mesa Police Department.
The judge determined that the fact Brailsford personally had the words, “You’re Fucked” on his rifle is not admissible in the trial.
But the judge has not determined whether showing the video of the shooting to the jury would be unfair to Brailsford, who was “in shock” when he learned he would even be charged for the shooting death.
Shaver’s widow, Laney Sweet, has since filed a lawsuit against the Mesa Police Department.
Video from the shooting incident – minus the actual shooting – has since been released to the public, which you can see below.