Fired For Shooting An Unarmed Man; officer was rehired so he could collect a lifetime pension Published By: The Washington Post Commentary By: Bradley Chapline July 2019
An Arizona police officer who was fired and charged with murder for killing an unarmed man in a hotel hallway was rehired temporarily so he could collect a pension.
Philip Brailsford, who killed Daniel Shaver at a La Quinta hotel in Mesa in 2016, came to the agreement last year with the Mesa city manager’s office to be allowed to rehired so he could apply for disability pension on the basis of a medical retirement, a striking reversal of his firing by the department after the shooting.
He will receive a lifetime pension of about $30,000 per year.
Shaver’s shooting captured national attention when it happened in 2016 and again after Brailsford’s trial, when his body camera video was released.
Police were called to the hotel in January 2016 on a complaint about a man with a rifle in one of the rooms. Shaver, 26, had been showing a legal pellet gun that he used in his job in pest control to a woman in the room with him.
The body camera footage begins with the confrontation between Brailsford, other officers, and Shaver and the woman. Shaver complies with the officers’ commands, putting his hands up and lying down on the ground. They threaten to kill him multiple times for not following their orders.
“If you move, we’re going to consider that a threat and we are going to deal with it and you may not survive it,” one says at one point. “Please do not shoot me,” Shaver begs at one point, his hands in the air. Brailsford opened fire after Shaver appeared to reach behind himself while crawling toward the officers. He was struck five times.
Brailsford, who was carrying an AR-15 rifle with the phrase “You’re F — ed” etched into the weapon, according to a police report, was charged with murder for the shooting and fired soon thereafter from his job. He testified in court that he believed Shaver was reaching for a gun and would have done the same thing again.
He was acquitted in November 2017 after a six week trial on both second-degree murder and reckless manslaughter charges. The settlement notes that Brailsford has been treated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, something his lawyer Michael Piccarreta told ABC 15stemmed from the shooting incident and criminal prosecution. Piccarretta did not return requests for comment from The Washington Post.
Mesa City manager Chris Brady told the outlet that Brailsford’s PTSD claim dates to before his determination.
“So in fairness he was given the opportunity to make that appeal to the board,” he said. He did not return requests for comment. The shooting prompted a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed by Shaver’s family, which is still pending.
Wesley Lowery contributed to this report.
When I retired as a peace officer and academy instructor in good standing in 2008, one of my major bones of contention was the overall attitude that officers should be trained to be more aggressive in handling situations.
I've said it many times before in this WP discussion forum about law enforcement agencies transforming their officers from a "protect and serve" approach of policing to a militaristic type of soldiering.
So yes, at the end of my career I had a very much negative attitude towards the agency I had been employed with for two plus decades. For, I would have no part in the establishment of a police state.
And, this is exactly what has taken place over the past decade with law enforcement agencies across America.
Mesa, Arizona police and Officer Philip Brailsford are not exceptions to the rules of today's policing practices. They are just further examples of widespread "oppressive policing".
In a nutshell, in my day as an academy instructor, teaching officer trainees in the use of deadly force could only be applied if: "The officer clearly sees a suspect in possession of a weapon, and that particular weapon is being held, and or brought forward by a suspect who is putting life in imminent danger."
So, the difference between a soldier and a law enforcement officer in dangerous situations is, a soldier is trained to be instantly prepared to kill the enemy. While a law enforcement officer is presumably trained to diffuse dangerous situations while preserving life.
But, case after case of unjustified deadly shootings by law enforcement officers of the people they are sworn to protect and serve prove that a "police state" in America is gaining a foothold.