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Weekly Review

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jury in Arizona heard closing arguments in the trial of a Mesa police officer charged with the murder of Daniel Shaver, a twenty-six-year-old traveling pest exterminator who was staying at a La Quinta Inn when he was shot and killed by a response team after guests in a hot tub outside his window mistook for a rifle the pellet gun he’d used to eradicate birds from a local Walmart and reported him to the hotel staff.[1][2][3] The prosecution told the jury that the officer, Philip Brailsford, was a “killer” for forcing Shaver, who was unarmed and intoxicated, into the hallway and then shooting him as he crawled on the floor crying and asking not to be shot; and Brailsford’s lawyer said Shaver was “not a bad person” but that “his actions” had gotten him killed, referring in part to the defendant’s claim that a hand movement of Shaver’s while he was on his knees made it appear as if he might have been reaching for a weapon in the waistband of his basketball shorts, which at that point had fallen down.[4][5][6][7] The judge continued to disallow the public release of Brailsford’s body-cam footage, and the jury spent less than six hours in deliberation before returning a verdict of not guilty.[8][9] The police then released the video, showing Brailsford pointing his AR-15 assault rifle at Shaver while a sergeant asked him if he understood that there was “a very severe possibility” he would “get shot”; Shaver attempting to reply as the sergeant told him to “shut up,” not move, put his hands on his head, “interlace” his fingers, “cross” his left foot over his right foot, and put his “eyes down”; the sergeant telling Shaver if he moves he “may not survive” and then ordering a woman a few feet away from him to move; the sergeant telling Shaver not to “make a mistake” and to keep his “legs crossed,” put both hands “palm-down straight out in front” of him, and “push” himself “up to a kneeling position”; Shaver’s hand falling; the sergeant telling him if it happened again he would be shot; Shaver asking the officers not to shoot him; the sergeant telling him again that if his hands dropped down they would shoot him; Shaver weeping as the sergeant said “crawl toward me”; Shaver saying, “yes, sir” and continuing to weep; the sergeant again shouting “crawl toward me”; Shaver moving his hand; and Brailsford opening fire, shooting Shaver in the back and neck five times with his AR-15, on which he had etched you’re fucked.[10][11][12] “If the situation happened exactly as it did that time, I would have done the same thing,” said Brailsford, who, as an Arizona law-enforcement officer, was required to receive 585 hours of training, less than half the amount of time required by the state in order to become a barber.[13][14][15][16]

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