The City of Mesa has settled a lawsuit brought by the family of a man, Daniel Shaver, who murdered by a Mesa police officer in 2016.
Former Mesa Police Officer Philip Mitchell Brailsford was found not guilty by a Maricopa County jury in the assassination of Daniel. Brailsford was charged with second degree murder for fatally shooting the unarmed Shaver as he begged for his life.
“A police officer does not get to execute a begging, crying, unarmed citizen because he believes, without proof, he has some hidden handgun,” said Deputy Maricopa County attorney Susie Charbel during the trial.
However, the jury gave the officer a pass.
Laney Sweet, Daniel Shaver’s widow issued, the following statement:
Daniel Shaver lived, and will be remembered, as a wonderful, compassionate husband and father. His spirit endowed and embedded light and love to those around him throughout his much-too-short life. While on this earth he provided security, prosperity and stability to his wife and children. He brought a pragmatic, caring perspective to every problem he approached, and had a good-willed nature and charm.
His beloved widow and children miss him every hour of every day. They will never forget Daniel’s loving legacy, nor take for granted the cherished memories of the beautiful time they spent with him. No words can do justice to a life unjustly cut short, and no amount of money can undo the transgressions that cruelly removed Daniel from his family’s lives forever.
While this settlement helps Daniel’s widow and children with the financial stability to move forward, it does not erase the cruelty of his killing, or the malicious campaign by the Mesa Police Department—orchestrated and implemented by their attorneys for over 6 years of needless, malevolent scorched-earth litigation. This settlement does nothing to cure the blatant lack of accountability by all involved since the night of Daniel’s death, which stands as an irredeemable blight on the criminal justice system.
The failure and injustice of Daniel Shaver’s killing and the resulting sham criminal trial, which made a mockery of the notion of Justice predictably ended in no conviction and to this day casts an ugly shadow over this settlement. As this chapter closes, we call upon the Department of Justice to swiftly proceed with its ongoing investigation and announce the federal criminal charges of officers involved and bring justice where the state of Arizona has failed.
Shaver was at a Mesa hotel on a work trip from Texas on January 18, 2016. He was in his hotel room on the fifth floor showing his pellet gun to friends.
People downstairs saw a man through the window appearing to be pointing a gun from inside and called the front desk, who in turn, called police.
When police arrived, they ordered Shaver and his guest out the room. They issued several commands to Shaver, telling him to show his hands, then place his hands on his head, then come crawling towards them.
As he was crawling towards them, his shorts kept slipping off, so he reached back to pull them back up, only to be threatened with death by one officer, which was when Shaver begged them not to shoot him.
“Please don’t shoot me,” Shaver said according to a witness, who was also ordered to crawl towards police.
However, his shorts slipped off again, prompting him to pull them up again, which was when Brailsford fired, killing the 26-year-old man instantly.
Brailsford had inscribed “You’re Fucked” on the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle he used to kill Shaver.
Brailsford later told investigators that it was a “terrifying” experience for him as he watched the unarmed man crawling towards him – essentially saying he was in fear for his life.