Friday, December 08, 2017


Here's a disturbing story, summed up succinctly in a Reason headline:
Arizona Cop Acquitted for Killing Man Crawling Down Hotel Hallway While Begging for His Life
That's accurate. Watch the video, which is disturbing:

Here's the story:

A Maricopa County jury on Thursday found former Mesa police Officer Philip "Mitch" Brailsford not guilty of second-degree murder charges in the 2016 shooting of an unarmed Texas man who was on his knees begging for his life.

Jurors deliberated for less than six hours over two days, finishing Thursday afternoon. The eight-member jury also found Brailsford not guilty of the lesser charge of reckless manslaughter....
Shaver was a pest-control worker who was drunk and had a couple of people in his hotel room when he started waving around a pellet gun he used on the job. He was brandishing it near a window, and someone called the cops.

You can understand why there was a confrontation -- the cops didn't know what they were dealing with. But did it have to end this way?
Shaver was kneeling, crying and begging not to be shot after he was confronted by six Mesa police officers in a La Quinta Inn & Suites hallway Jan. 18, 2016. Brailsford, who was fired two months after the shooting, testified that he fired his AR-15 rifle five times because it appeared Shaver was reaching for a gun....

The police video, which was released Thursday evening by Mesa police, shows Shaver was confused by some of Sgt. Charles Langley's commands when he exited his hotel room.
You see Brailsford firing the shots, but there's a lot of blame to be shared. This confrontation goes on for several minutes. Shaver struggles to comply with orders that could be confusing to a sober person ("Take your feet and cross your right foot over your left foot"). Meanwhile you have six police officers in the hallway, confronting two people who are face down on the ground. Why is there no opportunity for one of the officers to just move in and put the cuffs on the two of them? How much more compliant did these people have to be? Why the necessity for all this melodrama?

Maybe I'm ignorant, but it seems that these cops are primed to expect every situation to be a scene from a videogame apocalypse. I know that cops are trained to establish their authority forcefully, but in this situation that was accomplished several minutes before the shooting. These cops refused to take "I surrender" for an answer.

The last word on this:

No comments: