PD suggests termination for officer in shooting

Posted at 9:06 AM, Mar 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-16 15:31:39-04

A judge declined a widow's request to set a six-figure bond Tuesday for an Arizona police officer charged with murder in the fatal shooting of her unarmed husband two months ago at a hotel.

Mesa Officer Philip Brailsford is also facing termination after Chief Meza announced Tuesday that he had "significant concerns" with Brailsford's actions.

Daniel Shaver's widow told the judge that failing to set a bond for Brailsford sends a message that her husband's life didn't matter. Her lawyer complained that the officer was not actually arrested on a charge for which any other person would have been jailed.

"The no-bond (decision) sends a message that Daniel Shaver, that his life had no value," said Laney Sweet, Shaver's wife.

“It’s been… devastating,” Sweet said Monday night.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sam Myers put the officer on supervised release and barred him for possessing a gun, which prosecutors requested instead of bond. Myers said pretrial release conditions are not meant to punish people charged with crimes but are intended to ensure their appearance in court in the future. The judge said Brailsford posed no risk of skipping out.

The 25-year-old officer pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the Jan. 18 shooting death of Shaver, who was from Granbury, Texas.

In a Tuesday statement, Mesa police spokesman Steve Berry said, "Based on a comprehensive review of the entire situation, Officer Brailsford was served with notice of a pre-deprivation hearing -- with a recommendation of termination from the Mesa Police Department."

Take a look at the full statement from the Mesa Police Department below:

The Mesa Police Department prides itself on professionalism, respect and the highest level of service for our community. The January 18 incident involving Daniel Shaver was an unfortunate situation for his family, our city, and all law enforcement officers. 
After reviewing the evidence, Chief Meza had significant concerns with Officer Philip Brailsford's actions.
He ordered an expedited and complete investigation, which was then forwarded to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office for an independent review.
As you know, the County Attorney is pursuing second-degree murder charges against Officer Brailsford.
In addition, Chief Meza initiated an internal affairs investigation regarding inappropriate etching on the AR-15 patrol rifle used by Officer Brailsford.
The department policy is clear: no modifications of any kind is permitted on service weapons.
Based on a comprehensive review of the entire situation, Officer Brailsford was served with notice of a pre-deprivation hearing today -- with a recommendation of termination from the Mesa Police Department.
Officer Brailsford has a right to due process, and he will have the opportunity to appeal if necessary.
To ensure a fair process, the Department will not be able to discuss additional details of the investigation at this time.


Hotel guests reported seeing a man pointing a rifle outside a window. Authorities ordered Shaver to exit a hotel room and crawl toward officers. He was shot as he reached toward his waistline, possibly in an attempt to pull up his sagging shorts, investigators say.

No weapons were recovered from Shaver's body but they found two pellet rifles in the hotel room, which they later determined were related to his pest control job, police said. Prosecutors concluded the shooting was not justified.

Brailsford's attorney, Craig Mehrens, told the judge that his client has strong ties to the community, has no prior criminal record and doesn't pose a danger to the community.

"There is no reason to believe that my client will not respond to this summons or any release conditions," Mehrens said.

Regarding the job news from the police department, Mehrens said the department “sprang this on us this afternoon.”

“The county attorney’s treating [Brailsford] more decently than Chief Meza is,” Mehrens said.

Marc Victor, an attorney representing Shaver's widow, said it looks as though the officer was being treated differently than any other person facing a murder charge.

"The victim wants Officer Brailsford treated like everyone else," Victor said as he asked for a six-figure bond.

Victor filed a notice of claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, seeking $35 million in Shaver's death. The couple had two daughters, ages 6 and 3.

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office, which is prosecuting Brailsford, has declined to release video of the shooting from Brailsford's body camera.

For a full recap of the events surrounding Shaver's death, check out the interactive timeline below. (For a fullscreen view, click here)