In newly released footage, an officer shoots an unarmed man begging for his life. An Arizona jury made the footage public after acquitting the officer.
The disturbing video caused outrage and a demand for police reform. Mark Geragos, the lawyer of Daniel Shaver’s widow said:
This, to me, is the most horrific shooting I’ve ever seen…[it’s] the criminal justice system at its worst.
In January of 2016, hotel guests at a La Quinta in Mesa, Arizona called law enforcement after seeing a man wielding a weapon through a hotel window. Six officers from the Mesa Police Department responded.
The video shows Shaver and a woman stepping out into the hallway. Another officer gives orders to the two suspects.
If you make a mistake, another mistake, there is a very severe possibility you’re both going to get shot. If you move, we are going to consider that a threat, and we are going to deal with it, and you may not survive it.
Shaver apologizes to officers over and over again. He also begs the officers to not shoot. He is receptive to orders and calls an officer “sir”. According to a witness, Shaver was intoxicated at the time. He was showing off a pellet gun that he used in his job for pest control.
The officer gave commands that were confusing, especially for an intoxicated person.
Do not put your hands down for any reason. Your hands go back to the small of your back or down, we are going to shoot you, do you understand me?
After this command, the officer tells Shaver to crawl towards him. In this fateful moment, Shaver slightly twists and Officer Brailsford fires upon him. In the police report, the movement was:
…very similar motion to someone drawing a pistol from their waistband, [but it] was also consistent with attempting to pull his shorts up as they were falling off.
Brailsford was fired over the incident. New developments show this might not have been an isolated incident.
Michael Piccaretta, the officer’s lawyer, agrees the footage is disturbing. However, it’s consistent with police training.
Mr. Shaver certainly didn’t deserve to die that night, but the information projected to the outside world that night was one of danger. I think if people knew the full story, everyone would still be sad, everyone would be upset, but the vitriolic anger might be calmed a bit.
In the audio, another officer is giving the confusing commands to Shaver.
Eugene O’Donnell, a former police officer and professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says we may never know the answer. We simply can’t figure out what was going through Brailsford’s mind at the time.
*WARNING: GRAPHIC* Watch the video below: