A police report indicates that an unarmed young father of two begged for his life before being shot dead by a police officer in Mesa, Arizona. His distraught widow is now fighting to ensure that the officer responsible ends up behind bars.
According to KTAR radio in Phoenix, the newly-released police report indicates that Shaver told officers “please don’t shoot me,” shortly before he was indeed shot five times and killed.
Philip Brailsford, a former officer for in the Mesa Police Department, has been charged with second-degree murder, and he has pled not guilty. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said a plea deal is being considered, in place of going to trial.
On the night of Jan. 18, police were called to a hotel on reports of a suspect pointing a rifle out of the window. When police went to the room, they ordered Shaver and a woman to crawl out from the room. As Shaver was leaving, officers say he made a slight movement toward his waistline, at which point Brailsford shot him five times.
KTAR reports: “No weapons were recovered from Shaver’s body, but officers found two pellet rifles in the hotel room, which they later determined were related to his pest control job, police said.”
Shaver was 26 years old, and had wife and two daughters back home in Texas.
According to a Facebook post in January by Shaver’s widow, Laney Sweet, Shaver frequently traveled to Mesa as part of his job selling and servicing pest control equipment, which included the two pellet guns. She also said that he had been having dinner at the hotel with two people, “a man and a woman.”
“At some point, someone near the pool called the local police stating that they saw a man with a gun near the window of a 5th floor hotel room,” Sweet wrote. “Whether Daniel was the one holding it or he allowed the other man to view his equipment and look into the scope, we don’t know. The man left the room at some point, for what we think was a trip to the gas station.”
Sweet also wrote in that post that she had not been notified of her husband’s death, but had called every hospital and police station after she hadn’t heard back from him for two days — until she finally reached the coroner’s office.
This week, Sweet posted a new video on YouTube, opposing the plea deal has been offered to Brailsford, on the grounds that it would at most result in him serving three years and nine months in prison, and could potentially even result in probation.
She also plays back a recording of her conversation with the district attorney’s office, during which she felt silenced by the conditions that were being set if she were to be shown the video from Brailsford’s body cam. (Montgomery’s position was that it was necessary for Sweet to promise that she would not publicly describe the contents, or otherwise the defense team could potentially get an opportunity to say the case was being unfairly affected.)
Based, however, on the descriptions in this conversation itself made by Montgomery as well as by Sweet’s former attorney, who both saw the video, a person can get a decent idea of what is on it.
Brailsford was fired from the department on March 21, with records indicating another accusation of inappropriate force from months before the January incident.