Who was Daniel Shaver?
Daniel Shaver is a 26 years old Pest Control worker from Texas and a married father of two children. He was visiting Arizona for a business trip on January 2016. He stayed at a hotel in Mesa called La Quinta Inn. He was friends with two guests he met earlier in the night and was displaying his pellet (air) guns which he used for pest control job. Shaver didn’t realize that the rifle was visible through his hotel room window. It frightened people downstairs which led to informing the hotel staff and prompted a call to the police. On January 18, 2016 Mesa police officers approached the hotel room with their guns drawn, commanding people out of the room. When Shaver walked out of his room, he saw officers waiting for him in the hallway while officer Brailsford pointed a AR-15 at him. Shaver is ordered to get on the ground and lay his face down in the hallway.
he officers warn him from making any sudden movements or else he will be shot. Shaver obeys their order while begging the officers not to pull trigger. He was barefoot, wearing shorts and a t-shirt. The officers gave more orders and tell him to crawl on his knees with hands up and slowly come forward. Shaver listens and obeys their command. He crawls toward them while sobbing and begging to spare his life. But as he was kneeling forward, his pants kept slipping off and while he tried to pull up his loose fitting shorts, the officer feared for his life and open fires at him. Shaver dies on the spot and no gun was found on Shaver’s body. Two pellet rifles were later found in his room required for his pest control job.
Officer Philip Brailsford was charged with second degree murder and reckless manslaughter. Brailsford stated that he believed Shaver was reaching for a handgun from his waistband which led to the firing. According to Arizona Republic, a detective who investigated the shooting had agreed that Shaver’s movement seemed as if he was reaching for a gun, but it also looked as though Shaver was pulling up his shorts that had fallen down as he was ordered to crawl. The detective added that the officers could have simply handcuffed Shaver while he was on the floor obeying their command. The investigator said he did not notice anything that would’ve prevented officers from doing so. During an examination of Brailsford’s service rifle exposed that it had a imprint on the inside of the rifle’s dust cover. The officer’s gun was engraved with profanity, it said, “You’re fucked.” An interesting detail from the Arizona Republic, the judge did not inform the jurors about the imprint on Brailsford’s rifle which he used to shoot Shaver because the judge felt it would be biased.
On December 7, 2017 the verdict for this case was declared in Maricopa County Superior Court. And according to the judge and eight-member jury, Brailsford was not found guilty and therefore free.
WARNING: This video contains graphic contents and may disturb some viewers.
When I started watching this video, I felt very anxious right after hearing the officers scream, “STOP! STOP RIGHT THERE!” While I saw the officers pointing gun at Shaver, I felt my heartbeat rising and my body slowly numbing. As Shaver was kneeling toward the officers, I crossed my fingers for him unconsciously that he wouldn’t make any mistake or any move that would get him killed, without realizing that it has already happened. While watching Shaver make the simple mistake of pulling up his loose pants, I felt as if I was part of this terror until it came to an end. As an ordinary citizen, I’m compelled to ask these questions, how hard could it be to use physical force and handcuff a single man who was already complying with the police orders? How can so many officers feel threatened by one person? Wouldn’t any ordinary person be scared or confused if he/she were given so many orders by the cops who had their guns drawn? The video clearly shows that the police commands had only increased the possibility of shooting Shaver, it delayed his chance to be alive because in a confrontation like this anyone would lose their balance and make unwanted moves out of fear.
He listened, he obeyed, he kneeled, he cried, he begged for his life yet he still died.
Photo Credit: Mesa Police body camera footage
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