Arizona police officer Philip Brailsford became known on the internet after he was caught on video shooting and killing pest control worker Daniel Shaver. However, before Brailsford was acquitted of murdering Shaver—who was innocent and unarmed—he reportedly had a history of violent behavior.
In January 2016, police arrived at the hotel Shaver was staying in after someone claimed they saw a man with a rifle. While Shaver did have a gun in his room, it was a pellet gun using in his business of pest control. Last week, a jury found Brailsford not guilty in Shaver’s homicide. However, there are still members of the public who do not believe he is innocent, and they are determined to prove Brailsford’s true character.
A recording resurfaced in the days following the verdict that shows Brailsford and other Mesa PD officers making contact with what appears to be a group of teenagers—some of whom were reported to be gay—inside a convenience store. Brailsford wasted no time in escalating the encounter, it seems, when he grabbed a young man by the neck and threw him violently to the ground. He is the officer closest to the camera.
One of the boys attempted to exert his rights to be treated humanely by insisting there was no need for him to “get on the ground” as the officers demanded, given that he was already in handcuffs. The officers, possibly knowing they were being recorded, went to an outer aisle where they began throwing the young man against the product displays, making a mess of the store. One officer then began kicking the handcuffed boy in the stomach. Instantly, they slammed him to the ground to finish securing the cuffs.
The incident in the video below serves to illustrate the violent nature of the Mesa PD, which chose to escalate rather than de-escalate a situation—arguably one that could have been easily defused. Unfortunately, the complaints against Brailsford were ignored as he was able to keep his job until the point at which he killed Shaver.
The Justice For Daniel Shaver Facebook page uploaded the video on Monday with the following caption:
#PhilipBrailsford had many excessive use of force complaints against him. Between this and the “you’re fucked” inscription on his AR15– it was only a matter of time before someone fell victim to his mindset. #DanielShaverunfortunately happened to be that person.
As the Facebook page demands justice for Shaver, civil lawsuits are making their way through the court system. Others are not so gracious or patient, and they are demanding “street justice” for Shaver.
While it has been said that justice is blind, it seems once again a police officer has been given a license to abuse (badge). He then used that badge to violate the civil rights of numerous citizens, eventually killing a father of two young children. Some say he got away with murder. Cop apologists, however, applaud him for “doing his job.”
Even though the public was in an uproar over previous civil rights violations, and apparently attempted to tell Mesa PD there was a problem with one of its officers, unfortunately, the department did not listen. And if they were listening, they did not take preventative action soon enough to save Shaver’s life.
Mesa’s police chief at the time of the killing was John Meza. In March 2016, Meza fired Brailsford after the officer was charged with Shaver’s murder but for crimes he’d committed on the force unrelated to killing Shaver. The subsequent investigation into Brailsford found he had engraved the rifle he used to kill Shaver with the words “You’re Fuckedd.” That was a violation of police department policy, and he was terminated.
It was the first time in Mesa PD history, according to the police officer’s union, that an officer was terminated under those circumstances. Predictably, the union objected to his firing. It is unclear if they will attempt to get Brailsford rehired with the department—now that he has been found not guilty and Chief Meza is no longer with the department.
A fundraiser has been set up by Daniel Shaver’s widow to take care of the family’s needs while the civil suit is proceeding.