Cop Claims His Shooting Of An Unarmed Man Gave Him PTSD, Walks Off With A Medical Pension

from the things-are-tough-for-murderous-cops dept

Very few law enforcement agencies take accountability seriously. Even when officers are held responsible for wrongdoing, their employers find ways to soften the blow. Powerful police unions make the situation worse. The gap between officers and accountability hasn't really shrunk, no matter how many recording devices we've attached to them or boards we've appointed to oversee them.

Nothing is going to improve if things like this keep happening. The backstory is this: Officer Philip Brailsford responded to call about a man in a hotel room with a gun. That man happened to be Daniel Shaver. Shaver killed pests so he owned pellet guns -- one of which he had in the hotel room with him.

Within minutes of Officer Brailsford's arrival, Daniel Shaver was dead -- shot five times by Brailsford whose AR-15 was decorated with the phrase "You're Fucked."

Shaver was, indeed, fucked. He never had a chance to make it out of this confrontation alive. The video of his shooting shows Shaver never posed a threat. It shows Brailsford was the aggressor in this situation -- laying down a steady stream of conflicting commands with the promise of death for any failure to comply.

This summary of Shaver's last nightmarish minutes of life comes via the ACLU's Jeffery Robinson:

On the video you can hear one of the officers screaming, “If you make a mistake, another mistake, there is a very severe possibility you’re both going to get shot … if you move, we are going to consider that a threat, and we are going to deal with it, and you may not survive it.”

[...]

Not only was the officer shouting in a very hostile voice, the orders were contradictory. “Do not put your hands down for any reason,” he tells Shaver. “Your hands go back in the small of your back or down, we are going to shoot you, do you understand me?” Shaver, who is now in tears, says, “Yes, sir.”

But immediately after, the commands change, “Crawl towards me,” and Mr. Shaver lowers his hands to the floor and begins moving toward the officers.

Within seconds of attempting to comply with the latest command, Brailsford decided Shaver was failing to comply and shot him five times, killing him.

Brailsford was charged with murder and manslaughter but a jury acquitted him of both charges. His employer fired him anyway, recognizing the threat Brailsford posed to citizens. All well and good, except it decided to make sure this firing caused the officer as little discomfort as possible. As Conor Friedersdorf reports for The Atlantic, it made a concession that will force taxpayers to fund the officer's early retirement.

As for the cop who pulled the trigger, he was “temporarily rehired by the department so he could apply for a monthly pension,” The Arizona Republic reported this month. In 2018, he was reinstated for 42 days and applied for accidental disability. “An accidental disability is one that occurred while the employee was on the clock and permanently prevents the employee from doing his or her job,” the newspaper explained, adding that the pension in question “totals more than $30,000 annually.”

So, what disability did former Officer Brailsford claim? Pretty sure you can't claim lack of good judgment and/or self-control as a disability, no matter how much these missing qualities have harmed your career. Nope, what Brailsford claimed was that he was the real victim in this shooting.

And the nature of the cop’s disability claim? According to an investigation by the local ABC affiliate, Brailsford said the incident in which he had shot Shaver had given him PTSD.

This is sickening. And it was enabled by his employer, which gave him the opportunity to make taxpayers pay for the mistakes he made as a cop. Being a bad cop pays just as well as being a good cop. And the agencies that could do something about police accountability simply won't, which means we get whatever they give us, at our expense.

Filed Under: daniel shaver, pensions, philip brailsford, police, police misconduct, ptsd


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 12:56pm

    What piece of shit cop and a sorry excuse for a human being.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Jul 2019 @ 1:16pm

    I’m sure killing an innocent person is traumatic for a police officer…when that officer is faced with possible criminal charges and the loss of their job for deciding that an innocent person deserved to be killed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 2:08pm

      Re:

      I’m sure killing an innocent person is traumatic for a police officer

      The PTSD claim seems reasonable. Isn't killing innocent people one of the things that causes it in war? His prison doctor should be giving him treatment for that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 3:58pm

        Re: Re:

        Yeah, but the cop gets a pension whereas the veteran gets what - a park bench?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Bruce C., 26 Jul 2019 @ 7:09am

          Re: Re: Re:

          True. The appropriate response here seems to be to garnish the pension for damages paid to the victims family. But then we go down the "qualified immunity" rabbit hole. It might be worth pursuing that anyway. The fact that there was a criminal trial for murder means that there was a good amount of evidence for criminal misconduct.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Michael, 26 Jul 2019 @ 5:25am

      Re:

      We really should be treating all of the murderers we have in prison for PTSD. In addition to the killings they committed, our criminal justice system followed up with forcing them to relive the experience and the trauma of ruining their lives.

      Or, perhaps we could treat everyone that shoots an unarmed person as if they are simply dangerous criminals.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2019 @ 5:39am

        Re: Re:

        We really should be treating all of the murderers we have in prison for PTSD.

        Some sort of psychological treatment is a good idea that might reduce recidivism. Locking a bunch of criminals together for a few decades and releasing them when their timers run out is not working.

        Or, perhaps we could treat everyone that shoots an unarmed person as if they are simply dangerous criminals.

        Well, they are. So why not both?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Annonymouse, 25 Jul 2019 @ 1:23pm

    I am more concerned about what kind of jury decided this Homicidal maniac innocent.

    This implies that they saw nothing wrong with the execution of an innocent man for whatever reason and would themselves do the exact same thing if given a chance to do so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 25 Jul 2019 @ 1:32pm

      Re:

      I am more concerned about what kind of jury decided this Homicidal maniac innocent.

      The kind from a county that elected Joe Arpaio to six terms.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 1:36pm

      Re:

      I believe what happens (and this is third hand information so no citations unfortunately) is that the juries are instructed to disregard everything except for a split second clip of the events and determine if they were justified. So for example if someone's being held up by the police and their pants start sagging, and they reflexively reach for their band to pull them up and the cop shoots them. The greater context is thrown out and the jury is told to only make their determination on a clip of the guy thrusting his hands to his pants and decide from that if the cop was justified.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2019 @ 6:52am

      Re:

      Or the cops around the court sent them a message about the verdict required to avoid cop trouble.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 1:24pm

    Hey Mason,

    Your comment from an earlier post:

    I... honestly don't see any problem with that. Anyone who goes around murdering innocent people--especially young children!--absolutely is a subhuman savage who ought to be executed.

    Are you going to call for this cop to be executed? What consequences did he face by making this mistake?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Tim R (profile), 25 Jul 2019 @ 1:25pm

    This looks like the modern day equivalent of the wild west gunslinger with his gun drawn yelling "dance, monkey, dance!". There was only one way this was going to end, as long as Officer PTSD was calling the shots.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 1:26pm

    Being a bad cop pays better than being a good cop. The good cops are expected to keep coming to work if they want to be paid. This officer now has early retirement at a level that could fully fund a modest lifestyle in some parts of the country, and the opportunity to go take other work if he wants it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 2:16pm

    Even if we pretend that this cop's PTSD claim is valid—how is it not disability fraud to deliberately hire someone with a preexisting disability that renders them totally incapable of doing the job for which you hire them for the sole purpose of allowing that person to retire on disability at taxpayer expense?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Cdaragorn (profile), 25 Jul 2019 @ 2:48pm

    The officer should not bear the full fault

    While what was done is disgusting and despicable, I'm very concerned that the training our officers receive is more responsible for this reaction than the officer. If you teach nothing but fear and anger to someone about facing difficult situations you can't be surprised when they don't know how to react to someone that's not acting the way you drilled into them to think everyone they face is going to react.
    Yes as an individual we should expect officers to rise above this rhetoric nonsense of nothing but fear. We should not ignore the responsibility that that teaching rightfully bears on situations like this either.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 3:04pm

    Military equipment leads to militant response

    There are sooo many problems with this... but I'm not surprised that an officer armed with an AR-15 would end up using it.
    It seems that whenever someone is equipped with military equipment, the response immediately becomes military no matter how civilian the situation actually is.

    I'm guessing that the officer was worried that the suspect was in the midst of a tackle maneuver and thus felt he had to shoot the suspect before the gun was wrestled away and the suspect shot him... ... "look out, he's coming right for us"

    Perhaps if we limited our officers to the tools that other civil servants are limited to (think more pen and clipboard, not gun and sword), then the response would be more civil and less militant.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 3:37pm

    I'm going to have PTSD from watching that clip.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 3:52pm

    Now if a family member of the victim loses it over this and kills the former cop... We can be damn sure he won't be acquitted nor he would get away with a PTSD defense. Not much in the way of fairness nowadays, huh?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 4:18pm

    That looked like premeditated murder to me!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 25 Jul 2019 @ 7:29pm

      Re:

      That was my thought. The way he was ranting and screaming it seems pretty obvious he'd decided several minutes before pulling the trigger that he was going to kill Shaver, he just needed a tiny sliver of 'justification'.

      I'm honestly not sure who's worse, the cop, his trainers, or the jury.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Beech, 26 Jul 2019 @ 9:13am

        Re: Re:

        Not quite accurate. Another cop was shouting the contradicting orders, Officer PTSD was just the triggerman. The cop shouting the orders promptly retired and fucked right off to the Philipines to avoid any blowback.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 4:39pm

    The cop did nothing wrong. He was doing exactly what his training instructed him to do. For dealing with armed terrorists, that is, as such training was originally crafted to deal with.

    It's amazing that the people and institutions that train cops to act precisely this way never suffer any consequences whenever someone gets killed "by mistake" when these highly dangerous tactics are deployed, as they routinely are, against ordinary people who are no threat to anyone whatsoever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 25 Jul 2019 @ 4:53pm

      Re:

      If 'issue contradictory orders with death the penalty for not following all of them' is considered 'standard' training in any profession, then that's pretty clearly just an excuse to murder someone with a paper-thin justification of 'they refused to follow orders'.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 5:04pm

        Re: Re:

        Since when was a failure to follow orders exactly an immediate danger to other people lives, and hence a reason to shoot?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 25 Jul 2019 @ 6:24pm

          'They sneezed, open fire!'

          When you really, really want to shoot someone and are willing to use any excuse to do so.

          ... oh, you meant valid reason? Beyond 'person currently pointing a gun at someone or holding a knife to someone's body and told to drop it/remove and drop it', basically never(and even in those two hypothetical it would be extremely chancy given shooting them could result in exactly the wrong muscle movement).

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 6:46pm

            Re: 'They sneezed, open fire!'

            So he was in fear of someone on his hands and knees crawling toward him? No way! Failing to follow an order is no justification for killing someone!! Where is it written that failing to perform an order = instant death penalty?? There is no way that POS officer was in fear! Our judicial system is so broken officers can create situations where they can execute people with impunity.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Loony Tunes, 26 Jul 2019 @ 11:00am

          Re: Re: Re: There must be some way outta here

          Since the war on intelligence and civilized conduct commenced decades ago, having evolved to where the current prez advises cops to “rough ‘em up (protestors).

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 25 Jul 2019 @ 7:36pm

      Re:

      "He was doing exactly what his training instructed him to do."

      His obviously terrible training should not be enough to overpower that part of most people's psyche that stops them from wanting to kill people. That fact that he immediately walked wordlessly over the body and worried more about opening the door than the life he'd just taken shows that part was not present. He strikes me as a bit of a psychopath (the medical definition, not the pop culture one).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 6:16pm

    "Oh fuck," squealed Hamilton under his Fran Drescher mask, "I'm going to cum!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 25 Jul 2019 @ 7:06pm

    Who ever...

    Trained this person..
    Hired this person with OUT understanding his Mental problems..
    Who ever gave him NO JAIL TIME..
    Who ever freed this person from PAYING back the family, parents, kids, wife, everyone..
    Should also go to jail...

    A person in Shorts? being shot because he THOUGHT he had a gun??
    He has a 2nd person with the Officer..
    He had to much control and Could not control it...He put himself on an EDGE.. that WAS NOT THERE..
    He Pushed himself To hard to save his OWN life without Acknowledging, Anything that was happening. He STUCK it into his head what he HAD to do, if the situation was WHAT HE THOUGHT.... and couldnt see anything else.

    This is as bad as a cop shooting a kid thats carrying around a Play gun.. The End of the gun may have an orange Ring, the barrel not big enough to shoot much of anything, it Fits into the kids hands.... but the kid gets shot..

    He lost control of himself. isnt that WHY they are supposed to be Training all the time, to SHOW HOW to not pressure themselves?? Just Stupid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    wshuff (profile), 26 Jul 2019 @ 5:15am

    May former officer Brailsford run into a current office that’s just like him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2019 @ 5:36am

    PTSD

    Police-Terminated: Shaver, Daniel.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    tired of the police POS, 26 Jul 2019 @ 5:59am

    so much wrong here. starting with the jury not giving out manslaughter when it is patently obvious. whoever rehired this POS needs to be personally sued unless this fraud was a systemic thing, then the police union needs to pay up (not the city or the people)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ed (profile), 26 Jul 2019 @ 7:43am

    Never trust a cop

    Real-life example #1,678,372x10*3 of why you never trust a cop. Never.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 26 Jul 2019 @ 1:45pm

    Its all in training. and Psych EVAL

    There are Good cops, and there is GREAT training...
    But you cant teach a paranoid person what to do..

    And I would love to see how this person was trained, and Shown HOW to protect himself..
    And how to Disarm a situation..

    This person REALLY seemed not to understand PEOPLE, or the situation at hand. This was a Military or MOVIE style shake down, that he saw SOME PLACE.

    He had a 2nd officer there,and he could HOLD the people under arms...while the officer Cuffed and searched EACH...for any type of weapon or drug..
    He didnt have the training for this. he was so Hyped up that you probably couldnt knock him out with an elephant tranc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    iCleverUserName (profile), 18 Aug 2019 @ 5:04pm

    Question

    My question is going to seem like I am taking the cops side but I really am just wondering.....what exactly was the guy doing right before he was shot with his right hand? He did seem (and I could be wrong but I re-watched it a bunch of times) to suddenly throw his right arm back as if he was grabbing or doing something. Maybe I am wrong though.....I just was curious.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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