Fired for shooting an unarmed man, officer was rehired so he could collect a lifetime pension

By Eli Rosenberg, July 12

An Arizona police officer who was fired and charged with murder for killing an unarmed man in a hotel hallway was rehired temporarily so he could collect a pension.

Philip Brailsford, who killed Daniel Shaver at a La Quinta hotel in Mesa in 2016, came to the agreement last year with the Mesa city manager’s office to be allowed to be rehired so he could apply for disability pension on the basis of a medical retirement, a striking reversal of his firing by the department after the shooting.

He will receive a lifetime pension of about $30,000 per year.

The agreement was first reported by local news outlets in Arizona, which obtained the settlement agreement that the city reached with Brailsford last August.

Shaver’s shooting captured national attention when it happened in 2016 and again after Brailsford’s trial, when his body camera video was released.

Police were called to the hotel in January 2016 on a complaint about a man with a rifle in one of the rooms. Shaver, 26, had been showing a legal pellet gun that he used in his job in pest control to a woman in the room with him.

The body camera footage begins with the confrontation between Brailsford, other officers, and Shaver and the woman. Shaver complies with the officers’ commands, putting his hands up and lying down on the ground. They threaten to kill him multiple times for not following their orders.

“If you move, we’re going to consider that a threat and we are going to deal with it and you may not survive it,” one says at one point.

“Please do not shoot me,” Shaver begs at one point, his hands in the air. Brailsford opened fire after Shaver appeared to reach behind himself while crawling toward the officers. He was struck five times.

Brailsford, who was carrying an AR-15 rifle with the phrase “You’re F—ed” etched into it, according to a police report, was charged with murder for the shooting and fired soon thereafter from his job. He testified in court that he believed Shaver was reaching for a gun and would have done the same thing again.

He was acquitted in November 2017 after a six-week trial on both second-degree murder and reckless manslaughter charges.

The settlement notes that Brailsford has been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, something his lawyer Michael Piccarreta told ABC 15stemmed from the shooting incident and criminal prosecution. Piccarreta did not return requests for comment from The Washington Post.

Mesa City Manager Chris Brady told the outlet that Brailsford’s PTSD claim dates to before his determination.

“So in fairness he was given the opportunity to make that appeal to the board,” he said. He did not return requests for comment.

The shooting prompted a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed by Shaver’s family, which is still pending.

 

Eli Rosenberg, July 12, “Fired for shooting an unarmed man, officer was rehired so he could collect a lifetime pension”, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/07/13/fired-shooting-an-unarmed-man-officer-was-rehired-so-he-could-collect-lifetime-pension/

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