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Police training experts testify in Philip Brailsford trial

Posted at 8:27 PM, Nov 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-29 15:26:02-05

Police experts testified that former Mesa Police Officer Philip Brailsford acted properly, based on his training, when he fatally shot a man in 2016.    

Brailsford is on trial for murder for the on-duty shooting of Daniel Shaver in a La Quinta hotel hallway. He was one of several officers responding to a call of a man with a gun.

On Tuesday, Brailsford's police academy trainer is backing up a justifiable shooting defense.

"The way I teach it is hesitation is what gets officers killed in these situations," said Mesa Police Academy trainer Jeff Jacobs. "When we have identified a threat, we cannot let that threat manifest into an assault."

That night, Shaver reached toward his waistband. Brailford said he thought the man was going for a gun, but he was apparently just trying to pull up his gym shorts. Shaver did not have a weapon on him.

None of the other officers on scene opened fire.

An expert witness for the defense says the officer on the other side of the hall could see Shaver's hand the whole time. 

However, Brailsford could only make a decision from his vantage point based on his training and his perception of a threat, according to Emanuel Kapelsohn, a police firearms and training expert.

"Officer Brailsford lost sight of the hand during a movement which was exactly like the movement of drawing a gun," Kapelsohn said. "His actions to fire were consistent with police training and police procedure."

Brailsford may take the stand in his own defense Wednesday, according to his attorney.