A jury acquitted a former Mesa, Az., police officer of murdering a man in a hotel hallway. Jurors saw a video in which the unarmed man says, “Please do not shoot me.” The officer says he thought the man was reaching for a gun.
After an Arizona police officer was acquitted of second-degree murder charges, officials released graphic video showing Daniel Shaver crawling on his hands and knees and begging for his life in the moments before he was shot and killed by police in January 2016, the Washington Post reports. The shooting, by Philip “Mitch” Brailsford, then an officer with the Mesa Police Department, occurred after officers responded to a call about a man allegedly pointing a rifle out of a fifth-floor window at a La Quinta Inn. Shaver, 26, had been doing rum shots with a woman he had met earlier that day and showing off a pellet gun he used in his job in pest control.
The graphic video, recorded by Brailsford’s body camera, shows Shaver and the woman exiting the hotel room and complying with commands from officers. The video was shown during the trial; it was released after jurors acquitted Shaver on Thursday. Shaver puts his hands in the air and lies on the ground while informing the officer that no one else was in the hotel room. “Please do not shoot me,” Shaver begs, his hands up straight in the air. At the officer’s command, Shaver then crawls down the hallway, sobbing. At one point, he reaches back — possibly to pull up his shorts — and Brailsford opens fire, striking Shaver five times. Brailsford testified that he believed Shaver was reaching for a gun. No gun was found on Shaver’s body.