The Arizona cop who shot and killed Daniel Shaver in January after responding to a call over a pellet gun was charged with murder Friday.
And only because the incident was captured on body cam.
Mesa police officer Phillip Mitchell Brailsford – the son of an internal affairs officer – said he feared for his life when Shaver reached for his waist, prompting him to shoot five times.
At the time, Shaver was on his hands and knees crawling towards the officer, according to the Daily Progress in Jacksonville, Texas.
Shaver did not have a pellet gun on him, but two were found in his room, which were related to his job with a pest control company.
Brailsford was responding to a call about a man pointing a gun out his fifth-story hotel room at a La Quinta hotel is reportedly “stunned” by the charges, claiming he did everything by the book.
After all, his priority was to ensure his own safety over anybody else’s safety. Officer safety as they call it.
And that excuse would normally have worked had it not been for the body cam.
The footage has not been released but it was enough for the Maricopa County State Attorney’s Office to charge Brailsford with second-degree murder.
It was just over two years ago that Brailsford was a rookie looking forward to the newly implemented body camera program in the department, telling the Arizona Republic that he welcomed that transparency.
According to a December 23, 2013 article in the Arizona Republic:
Rookie Officers Mitch Brailsford and Katrina Teer said they are looking forward to using the cameras on their first day of patrol. They agree that reviewing the videos will help them become better officers.
“I definitely think there is a benefit to start out with this so young. It’s like learning a new tool right off the bat,” said Brailsford, son of veteran Mesa police Sgt. Phil Brailsford, who is currently assigned to Internal Affairs.
“I’m excited to use it,” he said. “I’ll be able to go through a call and see what I did wrong — basically better myself.”
But now the Arizona Republic is reporting the following:
Officer Philip Mitchell Brailsford is accused of firing five shots at Daniel Shaver at a La Quinta Inn & Suites on Jan. 18 after responding to a report of a suspect pointing a rifle outside of the hotel’s fifth-story window, according to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
The county attorney filed a direct complaint against Brailsford on Friday. He had served as a Mesa officer for more than two years.
“The use of deadly physical force by law enforcement is governed by Arizona law and is always a tragedy when the loss of life results. After carefully reviewing the relevant facts and circumstances, we have determined that the use of deadly physical force was not justified in this instance,” Maricopa County Bill Montgomery said in a statement Friday afternoon.
Shaver was a traveling businessman from Texas working for a pest control company who had just finished dinner with a man and woman before they returned to his La Quinta hotel room.
After dinner, the three went back to his room where he was showing them the guns. At one point, a man, which could have been Shaver or the other man, was spotted in his room’s fifth-story window pointing the gun out the window.
That was enough for a citizen sitting by the pool to call police.
And that was enough to get him killed.