An Arizona cop acquitted of murder in 2017 for killing a man crawling on his knees, begging for his life, in a hotel hallway, was temporarily rehired by the city he worked for so that he could claim a disability pension and file for a medical retirement that will pay him more than $2,500 a month for the rest of his life.
Former Mesa Police Officer Philip Mitchell Brailsford drew national attention and outrage in December 2017 when a jury found him not guilty of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Daniel Shaver. Brailsford shot Shaver in a confrontation in a hotel hallway in 2016 after police were called there by somebody who had seen Shaver holding a gun in his room.
The gun turned out to be a pellet gun, but police apparently didn’t know that. During the response, police ordered Shaver, who was unarmed, out into the hallway on his knees and ordered him to crawl in their direction while keeping his hands up, and they continued to bark confusing orders at him. As Shaver, clearly terrified, attempted to comply, at one point he gestured behind himself, possibly to pull up his pants, and Brailsford immediately opened fire, killing him.
The shooting was captured on police body camera footage, but it wasn’t released to the public until after the jury acquitted Brailsford. (You can watch the footage here.)
A jury might have decided not to convict Brailsford, but the Mesa Police Department fired him after the shooting for violations of department policy. That turned out not to be the end of Brailsford’s career in Mesa. ABC15 in Arizona reports that Brailsford appealed his termination and arranged for a special deal with the city to be rehired temporarily so that he could apply for a disability pension and retire for medical reasons.
Here’s the kicker: The justification for Brailsford’s medical disability and retirement is a claim that he has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from shooting and killing Shaver and the resulting prosecution, one of Brailsford’s lawyers told ABC15. This medical condition qualifies him for a monthly pension check of $2,569.21 for the rest of his life, which the taxpayers of Mesa are on the hook for. Brailsford is currently 28 years old. Furthermore, the City of Mesa agreed to spend up to $3 million to help Brailsford defend himself and pay lawsuit settlements.
The city has also agreed to give Brailsford a “neutral recommendation” for future employment references. Thank heavens for Google searches, right?
Read more about the shooting here. I predicted back in 2017 that Brailsford would try to get his job back. But I neglected to consider that he’d use the shooting to arrange for medical retirement.