What’s Missing from the Shaver Killing Narrative

Brailsford/Shaver shooting. Acquittal, controversy and context. Image Source: Trending Views
Brailsford/Shaver shooting. Acquittal, controversy and context. Image Source: Trending Views

After Daniel Shaver was shot to death by Mesa, AZ police officer, Philip Brailsford, a jury surprised many by acquitting him of unlawful killing. Since the trial outcome was announced, many sources on both sides of the media divide have called for action on how we deal with police brutality, but they all seem to be missing two key points.

As with many videos released to the public without full context, the footage of Daniel Shaver’s dead sparked outrage. The body-cam video clearly shows officer Brailsford shouting instructions to an  Shaver. Only later was it determined that Shaver may have had difficulty understanding those orders fully, due to his intoxicated state.

Shaver was not just a guy who got caught in a corridor with a trigger-happy police officer. The police were called after the barrel of a gun was seen pointing through the window of Shaver’s motel room. Have we not heard of a gun barrel coming out a hotel window in the recent past?

Drapes billow out of broken windows at the Mandalay Bay resort and casino Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, on the Las Vegas Strip following a deadly shooting at a music festival in Las Vegas. A gunman was found dead inside a hotel room. Image Source: John Locher | AP

Drapes billow out of broken windows at the Mandalay Bay resort and casino Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, on the Las Vegas Strip following a deadly shooting at a music festival in Las Vegas. A gunman was found dead inside a hotel room. Image Source: John Locher | AP

The Las Vegas shooting occurred just a few weeks before the trial began. An event that surely weighed heavily on the minds of jurors. Though this incident happened more than a year before, the similarities (motel, gun, window) were striking. Mass shootings and terrorist attacks were a constant law enforcement concern even then.

On a daily basis, officers around the country have to deal with people who are either drunk, on drugs, or who don’t understand English.

Being intoxicated does not legally absolve a citizen of their responsibility for their actions. Being drunk has never been an adequate defense in the United States courts.

In light of recent terror events and mass shootings, officer Brailsford arguably had a right (and duty) to assume that this could be a potential terrorist incident. With that in mind, he had no way of knowing if Shaver was about to detonate an explosive or reach for a weapon? However, NOT reaching to his waist was explicit in the officer’s instructions.

The second point being largely ignored is what happens at the end of the video. This speaks directly to the officer’s frame of mind and concerns. The officers do not stop to check on Shaver, but go straight to the hotel door to see if there are other potential dangers.

Brailsford, at the time, had no way of knowing if this was a terror attack or whether there were other potential shooters involved. His duty and his job was to ensure that there is no further danger to civilian life. He went straight past the body of Shaver to the room still in a high-tension state to see if there were more potentially dangerous people waiting strike.

It is truly sad that a young man lost his life. It is heartbreaking that a family lost a husband and father. It is also sad that an officer of the law was forced into a situation where a split-second decision ended a life. A decision made with the possibility of facing the next mass shooting massacre or a terrorist shooting gallery.

It was right that officer Brailsford was acquitted. It is a shame that this is being classed as anything other than an officer’s attempt to preserve innocent life. It is also a shame that potential terrorist attacks and mass murders must play into the thought processes of law enforcement.

Note: Article updated. Originally I argued that the officer may have had images of the Vegas massacre that influenced his actions. This shooting took place long before Vegas, but the trial occurred mere weeks after Vegas.

About the Author

Mark A
Mark A
Mark is a political writer and journalist who has worked on campaigns for Brexit.

19 Comments on "What’s Missing from the Shaver Killing Narrative"

  1. This took place a year before the vegas shooting. So your narrative is flawed.No one should need to give up liberty in exchange for “safety”. The officer was wrong. The jury was wrong. You are wrong.

  2. What a crock of SH.T……people make excuses for this type of behavior, when in fact it is a conscious decision, that you would rather be wrong and kill an innocent person than to wrong and be killed or injurer yourself. Who are you kidding, I have worn a badge, carried a gun and been a position where I myself was shot. Police Officers have been wearing a firearm for generations, only now they are kill happy. My guess is that THIS officer was a combat veteran and suffers from PTSD….the badge simply allows him to deal with it a different way. And people like you Mark A, try to convince the rest that it is acceptable.

  3. The video is painful to watch and as a normal citizen you would jump to the decision made by the officer was wrong. To those same people do the job just for one day and see how much restraint it takes to not react out of fear and to weigh every option in a split second. Sorry for the family’s loss but actions no matter the intent have consequences.

  4. No we heard of rifles be fired out of windows not guns, The damn kid was groveling. the officers repeated screaming and yelling instructions at him just freaked the kid further and further, especially in the face of a rifle barrel aimed at him. This was manslaughter and nothing less.

  5. His action before the police were called do not justify his execution. If we are going to follow this precedent, we no longer need DA’s, judges and juries. Anytime the police are called to the thereat of a violent crime they can just shoot the accused.

  6. Problem with your comparison to the Las Vegas shooting is wrong. This shooting happened in 2016, so the cop had no reason to equate this situation to the Las Vegas shooting.

  7. Avatar John Patterson | December 12, 2017 at 8:46 pm | Reply

    Sounds like the officer is being exonerated for his knowingly and wantingly shooting this innocent man.It was wrong and to be found not guilty.WTF.Because of prior or future events does not give an officer or civilian the right for lethal fire because of being scared of what might be..BS all the way around.

  8. Your right about one thing,the officers duty was to protect the public,the victim was one of them,the 1st problem here is that since when does local law enforcement show up with military weapons,that is exactly why citizens should also be allowed them,they are out of control,this cop was a killer,he had inter acted with his victim long enough he should have known he was unarmed,either extremely poor judgement or a coward,guns dont kill people,poorly trained and fearful officers kill people.

  9. You make an incorrect assertion in your article. You wrote “The Las Vegas shooting similarity must have given the officers at least a notion that this could be another massacre in the making”. The shooting in Mesa was at least a year BEFORE the Las Vegas shooting.

  10. Ah, found the Copsucker.

    First flaw was assuming the report was 100% accurate. It wasn’t.

    Second was not cuffing and saving the suspect at once. Playing Hokey Pokey with rifles is retarded. (You put your right hand in, you put your right hand out…)

    Third was assuming that someone would be able to follow the dance card. While I’m in no sense “liberal,” you might stop to think that people such as my wife, with a bad knee, can’t perform such tricks for a biscuit or a bullet. Or our temporary guest, a disabled vet who can’t handle a phone call without confusion and distress, whose comment was “They may as well just shoot me and be done with it,” because he would be unable to comprehend the instructions.

    And then there’s people with balance issues, hearing impairment, or possibly have been clocked in the head in an altercation right before the pigs arrive.

    But jerk off to that dead innocent man, you revolting sack of sh t.

  11. No way are you going to justify the actions of this murdering cop. Whatever happened before the vidio we clearly see 1 of 2 officers with a man crawling then shooting him to death .

  12. The legend inscribed on the cops rifle was enough to show what kind of person he was, but that information was witheld at the trial…

  13. The officers were called because people saw a gun being waved around the window and pointing at the freeway. The fact that it was a pellet gun was not shared with the police.

    This particular article is wrong in comparing the Las Vegas shootings as a reason for their actions. Try to see how the police would have been hailed as heroes, had this scenario played out with the guy believed to have done the the shootings in Las Vegas.

    Because this happened to be an intoxicated man and the weapon being a pellet gun, the police are seen as kill happy. The woman was able to follow directives and lived. The man did not follow directives and was killed. The officer asked if they had been drinking and asked if they could understand his directives. They both answered that they were not intoxicated and that yes they could follow directives.

    In my opinion, if the officer was kill happy, he would have shot him as soon as he brought his hands down using them to crawl. The officer did not fire until the man reached back toward his waist.

    Remember, opinions vary!! This is my opinion and I see that it does not coincide with many others.

  14. Mark A doesn’t know a thing about which he writes in this article. The Shaver murder happened on 1/16/17. The murderer was a poorly trained rookie who shouldn’t have been put in the situation. He was shouting conflicting commands at a drunk guy and giving him impossible tasks to perform. The prosecution didn’t have any desire to tarnish his employer so a sympathetic jury was seated. Viewed in that light the verdict was no surprise.

  15. Now wait a minute , i first want to be clear that I’m personally a second amendment supporting republican , under most “MOST” circumstances I support the police and their decisions however with all of that said this Cop flat out had it in his head that he was going to shoot that kid , how do I know this ? Well it could be that he stated a number of times in the video that he was going to flat out shoot him , at one point even stated that he was going to kill him that he would not “Surrvive this “ this was nothing more than a cop on an ego trip with full intentions of MURDERING THAT YOUNG MAN ! Idc what spin you try to put on this , this kid was flat out complying , he was doing what the cop told him and was killed for doing so , now you don’t see the riots you would from other community’s , you won’t see the protesters or for that matter prob not even a lawsuit filed on behalf of this kids family , but this is bullsh!t in its largest form there was no justifiable reason to shoot this kid he complied and this cop needs to be thrown in prison with the rest of the criminals , this flat out is not a white or a black issue this is a bad cop with murder on his mind type of issue . We the people demand stuff like this stop , we the people demand that these bad cops be responsible for their actions and we the people want this cop inpaticular held accountable because this was nothing less than Murder . Whatever this young man did to get the police called on him did not deserve him to be murdered and put on display for a nation to see . If he was in anyway acting out a terror plot well let’s be honest here their would have been casualties well before the police arrived .

    Whatever happened to being innocent until proven guilty ?
    Since when do the police have the right to become Judge , Jury and executioner ?
    This nation is in the state it’s in because ppl like this go vigilante and take the law into their own hands and this is a prime example of that .

    This cop needs retried , and help accountable this young man did not deserve to die .

    M.P. Wakefield in Ohio

  16. If any of you people posting were ever in law enforcement, you would understand the officers actions. He did the right thing, the person did not obey the officers commands. This was a gun call to start with.

  17. I am a ardent law and order supporter and appreciate and understand the pressures on law enforcement but after watching this video I believe that this kid would be alive today had the officer handled this differently. The officers had the suspect covered as far as if shooting him became necessary. The conflicting crawling instructions and threats only served to heighten the drama and tension. Once he had his hands visible, someone should have moved forward to cuff him all the while covering him so that should he move with a weapon he could be shot. Even when his hand moved they had him covered well enough that they could see in plenty of time if he had a weapon. To pump 5 bullets in him for moving his hand was overkill. Imagine yourself in a similar position and because you became confused failed to obey commands to the letter and you die for it.

  18. Mr Shaver had his hands on his head with his fingers interlocked. At that point, with the other officer providing cover, one should have approached him and handcuffed him. The “I wanna sound like a drill sergeant” voice and ridiculous commands tell me this entire department needs retraining. The inscription on the dust cover tells us too much about this young man’s state of mind. Sure, cops get killed and need to protect themselves. Gunning down anyone that might pose a hazard is not going to help their risk factor at all.

  19. We have all seen incidents where 3 Officers handcuff a person laying on the floor. One cop with his knee on the persons neck while 2 cops put the handcuffs on while yelling to “stop resisting.” The person is not resisting ,they are just trying to breath. Are the Police so badly trained that no one was able to run up handcuff, search and arrest. While Rambo had his rifle trained on the suspect? Time for the good and well trained Cops to weed out these ass holes

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