A former Mesa, Arizona, police officer who was fired after shooting dead an unarmed man seen on video pleading “please do not shoot me” was temporarily rehired by his department last year so he could apply for a pension.
Philip Mitchell Brailsford, 28, killed 26-year-old Daniel Shaver of Texas, in the hallway of an Arizona hotel in early 2016. He was fired and charged with murder – but was acquitted at trial in 2017.
He was temporarily rehired by Mesa police last August as part of the settlement that allowed him to apply for an accidental disability pension and medical retirement – a tax-free pension worth $31,000 a year for life, the Mesa Police Department said.
His attorney Michael Piccarreta confirmed Friday his client suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder due to the shooting so the move meant he could be medically retired – rather than fired – which made him eligible for the pension.
“He was eligible for retirement benefits, so he applied for them,” local official Chris Brady told ABC News.
The terms of the agreement prevented Brailsford from performing any job duties or getting paid during the period of reemployment.
Body cam footage of the incident released after Brailsford was acquitted, showed Daniel Shaver on his knees asking the officer not to shoot him.
But he was shot five times with a semi-automatic rifle as he crawled towards the officers while sobbing.
Lawyers argued that Brailsford had responded appropriately, according to his training, when Shaver reached towards his waistband – as he believed there was a concealed firearm there, despite the fact that no weapon was found on Shaver’s body.
The police report said the victim had shown guests in his hotel room a rifle he used for work. It later emerged that the rifle was an airsoft or pellet gun, rather than a genuine firearm, according to BBC.