Former Mesa officer's murder trial begins, jury watches body cam footage

The opening statements began in the murder trial of a former Mesa police officer on Thursday.

PHOENIX - The murder trial of a former Mesa police officer accused of shooting an unarmed man in a hotel in 2016 finally began Thursday morning.

Phillip Brailsford is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Daniel Shaver.

Police had been called to Shaver's hotel after a report of a man pointing a rifle out of a window on the fifth floor.

Shaver had a pellet gun that was used for his extermination business, but he was unarmed when police contacted him.

As part of the opening statements, prosecutors played the unredacted body camera video of the shooting, taken from Brailsford's camera.

The video showed Shaver and another woman exiting the hotel room and being ordered to the ground. Both seem confused and have trouble following the instructions officers gave them.

The woman, who was drinking in Shaver's hotel room, was taken into custody. Officers then turn their attention to Shaver. 

Shaver is first told to lay flat on the floor with his hands behind his head and his ankles crossed.

Then he's told to put his hands out in front of him, then push himself to a kneeling position. Shaver does, but then he puts both arms behind his back as if waiting to be handcuffed. Officers yell at him to raise his hands high above his head.

Shaver is repeatedly told if he makes a mistake, he will be shot.

They then tell Shaver to repeat the process and crawl toward them. Shaver is crying and on his hands and knees, not, as the officers had asked the woman before him, on his knees with hands up.

Shaver reaches to his right side with his right hand, with his head still down and Brailsford fires five times. 

Prosecutors maintain Brailsford was the only officer out of five who fired. They also raised the possibility that Brailsford was not actually looking at Shaver when he pulled the trigger.

Brailsford's attorney told the jury Brailsford only had a split second to decide if Shaver was a threat. 

The trial continues on Monday.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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