Daniel Shaver death: Video shows police shooting unarmed man as he begs for life with his hands up

18-minute body-camera video was released shortly after former Officer Philip Mitchell Brailsford was acquitted on a murder charge

Lucy Pasha-Robinson@lucypasha
Saturday 09 December 2017 16:55
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Daniel Shaver is seen putting his hands up before police shoot him
Daniel Shaver is seen putting his hands up before police shoot him

Footage has emerged of the moment an Arizona police officer shot dead an unarmed man as he crawled towards officers with his hands up, sobbing "please do not shoot me".

Authorities had been responding to a call that someone was pointing a gun out of a hotel window when the incident occurred in January 2016.

The 18-minute body-camera video was released shortly after former Officer Philip Mitchell Brailsford was acquitted on a murder charge in Daniel Shaver's death.

The release of the full video marks the first time the face-to-face encounter has been available to the public outside a courtroom. It was played at the beginning of Mr Brailsford's trial in late October.

The footage, taken from Mr Brailsford's point of view, shows the shooting and the tense moments leading up to it.

Officers ordered Mr Shaver, from Granbury, Texas, to lie down face-first in the hallway and not make any sudden movements or risk being shot.

At one point, Mr Shaver puts his hands behind his back.

“Hands up in the air!” Sgt Charles Langley, who was leading the police team that responded to the call, is heard shouting. “You do that again, we're shooting you.”

“Please do not shoot me,” Mr Shaver said, sobbing.

He was ordered to crawl towards officers. As he inched forward, he reached towards the waistband of his shorts, leading Mr Brailsford to open fire. He said he believed Mr Shaver was grabbing a handgun to fatally shoot him.

Authorities have said it looked as though Mr Shaver was pulling up his loose-fitting basketball shorts that had fallen down as he crawled.

No gun was found on Mr Shaver's body, but two pellet rifles related to his pest-control job were later found in his hotel room.

The investigator into the incident noted he did not see anything that would have prevented officers from simply handcuffing Mr Shaver while he was on the floor.

During his trial testimony, Mr Brailsford described the stress that he faced in responding to the call and his split-second decision to shoot Mr Shaver.

Mr Brailsford told jurors he was terrified for the safety of officers and a woman who was in the hallway. He also said he felt “incredibly sad” for Mr Shaver.

While the acquittal clears Mr Brailsford of criminal liability, Mr Shaver's widow, Laney Sweet, and his parents have filed wrongful-death lawsuits against the suburban Phoenix city of Mesa.

Mr Brailsford served as a Mesa officer for two years before he was fired for violating department policy.

Additional reporting by agencies

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