PHOENIX, AZ (WCMH/AP) — A judge has barred the public release of body-camera video taken by a Mesa police officer as he fatally shot an unarmed man at a hotel.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sam Myers granted a request Tuesday by prosecutors and defense attorneys to seal the video in a case against Officer Philip Brailsford.
He has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in the Jan. 18 death of Daniel Shaver of Granbury, Texas. Brailsford has since been fired.
On Jan. 18, hotel guests reported seeing a man pointing a rifle outside a window. Authorities ordered Shaver to exit a hotel room and crawl toward officers.
According to the police report obtained by the Arizona Republic, Shaver was “obviously compliant and offered no resistance at that point.” Officer Brailsford told him if he moved, he would be considered a threat and “may not survive it.”
After remaining on the ground on all fours for sevearl minutes, Shaver is seen sitting up and placing his hands behind his back. Officer Brailsford then yells at Shaver to put his hands in the air.
“If you do that again, we are shooting you,” Brailsford says.
“No, please don’t shoot me,” Shaver is heard saying in response.
Officers Brailsford then orders Shaver to start crawling towards him. Shaver is heard “audibly sobbing” as he complies to the order.
While crawling forward, the police report states Shaver’s shorts began falling off and his underwear was showing. When Shaver then reached towards his waistline, Officer Brailsford fired five shots from his AR-15, killing Shaver.
The officer told a judge he opened fire because Shaver disobeyed orders to keep his hands on the ground, and he thought Shaver was reaching for a gun and trying to get “a better firing position on us.” However, investigators say the video shows that Shaver’s motion was “consistent with attempting to pull his shorts up as they were falling off. No other purposes for this movement appear to be viable.”
No weapons were recovered from Shaver’s body, but police said they found two pellet rifles in the hotel room, which they later determined were related to his pest control job.
Maricopa County prosecutors concluded the shooting was not justified. They have so far declined to release video of the shooting from Brailsford’s body camera. A lawyer for Shaver’s wife wants the video released. The State of Arizona says keeping the video from the public will help ensure the integrity of the trial, KNXV-TV reports.
A judge put Brailsford on supervised release after his plea in the case and barred him from possessing a gun, which prosecutors requested instead of bond.
Shaver, 26, was from Granbury, Texas. An attorney for his widow, Laney Sweet, has filed a notice of claim — a precursor to a lawsuit — seeking $35 million in Shaver’s death. The couple had two daughters, ages 6 and 3.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.