A former Arizona cop was acquitted for the murder of an innocent man in 2017. Police Officer Philip Brailsford walked free despite video footage showing him firing his weapon without reason. The shots fired ultimately murdered an innocent victim, Daniel Shaver.
Recent findings have added further insult to Shaver’s family. The City of Mesa has now been ordered to pay Brailsford a pension on the basis of medical retirement after claiming that killing Shaver gave him PTSD. Brailsford will now receive around $2,500 per month for the rest of his life.
The City of Mesa has also agreed to pay Brailsford’s court costs of up to $3 million and is also paying lawsuit settlements resulting from the murder. It is also likely Brailsford will secure another job in law enforcement after he received a “neutral recommendation” from his former police department. Although given his generous retirement plan, it is unlikely Brailsford will feel the need to work again.
On the fateful night of Daniel Shaver’s death, Shaver was seen in a hotel showing another guest his pellet gun. The Mesa Police were called, even though gun ownership is commonplace, and Arizona is an open-carry state. Shaver also had a job as an exterminator, where he often used the pellet gun for killing pests.
Officer Brailsford arrived on scene to investigate. Instead of questioning Brailsford, he immediately intensified the situation and instructed Shaver to leave his room and go into the hallway, on his knees. At that point, the footage shows that Shaver was not holding the pellet gun and Brailsford gave him a series of conflicting commands to crawl while keeping his hands up.
“If you make a mistake, another mistake, there is a very severe possibility you’re both going to get shot … if you move, we are going to consider that a threat, and we are going to deal with it, and you may not survive it,” Brailsford can be heard saying in the video.
Brailsford gives Shaver more conflicting orders, such as “do not put your hands down for any reason,” followed by, “your hands go back in the small of your back or down, we are going to shoot you, do you understand me?”
As Shaver attempted to crawl toward the officer, he instinctively reached to pull up his baggy pants. Brailsford opened fire in response, shooting him multiple times from a short distance away.
The jury was not permitted to see the disturbing evidence. Other evidence shielded from the jury included a disturbing message inscribed on Brailsford’s gun—the firearm he used to take Shaver’s life.
Two words were written on the AR-15 rifle’s dust cover: “You’re fucked.”
A statement from the city of Mesa obtained by ABC15 explained how Brailsford got the deal:
“Philip ‘Mitch’ Brailsford was terminated by the Mesa Police Department on March 21, 2016. Mr Brailsford, through his attorney, requested an appeal of his dismissal on March 22, 2016. The appeal was held in abeyance until the criminal case against Mr Brailsford was concluded. On December 7, 2017, Mr Brailsford was acquitted. On August 23, 2018, a settlement agreement between the City of Mesa and Mr Brailsford allowed him to file for accidental disability and a medical retirement with the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System Local Board. This agreement eliminated the need for a Mesa Personnel Appeals Board hearing. During the time that Mr Brailsford was making his application for medical retirement, he was not paid and was not assigned any police officer duties. The one-year timeframe to apply for an accidental disability pension began for Mr Brailsford once the trial concluded. The PSPRS Local Board determined that Mr Brailsford met the qualifications for medical retirement citing information provided by multiple independent medical professionals. Mr Brailsford is now medically retired through PSPRS.”