Former Arizona cop fired for gunning down unarmed father-of-two briefly reinstated so he could claim medical pension
A former police officer who was fired after bodycam footage showed him mercilessly gunning down an unarmed civilian was reinstated briefly so he could benefit from a medical disability claim, according to records.
The 28-year-old Philip Brailsford, formerly of the Mesa Police Department in Arizona, made headlines in December 2017 after a judge ordered the release of a video where he could be seen fatally shooting 26-year-old father-of-two Daniel Shaver, seemingly without provocation.
The incident had taken place in January 2016, when police officers were called to a La Quinta Inn & Suites hotel in Mesa to reports that witnesses had seen a rifle brandished at the window of Shaver's hotel room.
Bodycam footage shows Brailsford and five other officers in the corridor outside Shaver's room pointing weapons at the 26-year-old and another woman as they made their way out.
The officers repeatedly threatened to shoot them if they did not comply with orders. A crying Shaver can be heard begging, "Please don't shoot me," as he crawled his way towards them on all fours.
Shaver can be seen repeatedly reaching to pull up his shorts, which kept falling down, much to the annoyance of the other officers. At one point, he stops crawling and moves his hand towards his waistband, prompting Brailsford to shoot him five times with his AR-15 rifle and killing him almost instantly.
It was later determined that the rifle witnesses saw in Shaver's room was, in fact, a pellet gun. Brailsford was subsequently charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, and the Mesa Police Department fired him, citing several policy violations and unsatisfactory performance.
It was also found that the 28-year-old, who had previously been investigated for bodyslamming a teenager during an arrest, had engraved his patrol rifles with the phrases "You're f*****" and "Molon Labe", a Greek expression that means "come and take them".
During his trial, Brailsford testified that he shot Shaver because he believed the 26-year-old was reaching for a weapon and was "trying to gain a position of advantage in order to gain a better firing position on us". In December 2017, after a six-week trial, a jury acquitted him of all charges.
Documents recently obtained by the Arizona Republic show that the Mesa board division of Arizona's Public Safety Personnel Retirement System, a local public safety retirement board which oversees retirement benefits and programs for designated government employees, including city police, reinstated his employment for two months beginning August 27 last year.
He was reinstated by the Mesa Police Department for 42 days in what was described as a "budget position with no pay or duties" to allow him to file a claim for accidental disability retirement pension.
Brailsford's lawyer claimed that he suffered PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) due to the shooting and the criminal trial, and the former officer's disability claim was discussed in an off-the-record executive session in September.
The board unanimously approved that the 28-year-old be retired on medical grounds and awarded him a $2,500 a month of taxpayer-funded retirement wages on October 8, with the meeting's minutes stating, "Chairman (Bryan) Raines thanked Police Officer Philip Brailsford for his service to the City."
In early 2018, the US Department of Justice opened a civil rights violation investigation into Shaver's killing. The results of that investigation have not been released yet.