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Horrific video shows cop gunning down unarmed man begging for his life

by Taylor Dolven and Alex Lubben
Dec 8 2017, 11:02am

Body camera footage released by an Arizona judge Thursday shows a graphic January 2016 police shooting of 26-year-old Daniel Shaver.

The judge released the video after the former Mesa, Ariz. officer, Philip Brailsford, was cleared of murdering Shaver.

Brailsford can be seen giving orders to Shaver to crawl toward him in narrow a hotel hallway. Shaver, unarmed, pleads with Brailsford not to shoot him, and then Brailsford opens fire with his AR-15 service weapon, killing Shaver.

Shaver was ordered to lie down on his stomach before being asked to kneel, with his legs crossed behind him.

“You do that again, we’re shooting you,” Brailsford yelled as Shaver, apparently shaken and confused, calmly put his hands behind his back, contradicting Brailsford’s orders.

Shaver begged, “Please don’t shoot me.” He was sobbing as he crawled toward Brailsford, while Brailsford barked orders, yelling repeatedly for Shaver to crawl toward him.

Shaver did reach behind him, against orders, but appeared to be pulling up his shorts rather than reaching for a weapon. Brailsford fired five times.

Brailsford told the court during the hearing, “If this situation happened exactly as it did that time, I would have done the same thing,” according to Arizona Central.

Brailsford was responding to reports from the hotel that someone was pointing a gun out of the window. Mesa Police Department records obtained by VICE News show the police department said Shaver made a “furtive movement,” but the video shows Shaver complying with all of Brailsford’s commands.

Shaver was one of eight people shot by officers in the Mesa Police Department in 2016, according to records obtained by VICE News. Four of those people were killed.

A Maricopa County jury deliberated for less than six hours before finding Brailsford not guilty of murder on Thursday.

On the night that Shaver was killed, police were responding to reports, brought by a couple in a hot tub at the hotel, of a man pointing a gun out of a hotel window toward the highway. They said they saw a silhouette in Shaver’s room.

After Shaver was killed, police found that he had been unarmed. He reportedly had two pellet guns in his room, tools that he used for his job in pest control.

“There are no winners in this case, but Mitch Brailsford had to make a split-second decision on a situation that he was trained to recognize as someone drawing a weapon and had one second to react,” said Brailsford’s attorney Michael Piccarreta after the verdict was given, according the Associated Press.

Brailsford had been a cop with the Mesa police department for two years when the shooting took place. He was fired from the force for unsatisfactory performance three months later, according to the New York Daily News.

Shaver’s parents and his widow, Laney Sweet, are filing a wrongful death suit against the Mesa Police Department, the AP reports.

Carter Sherman contributed reporting.