PHOENIX — Maricopa County’s top prosecutor said the decision not to release the body camera footage in the Mesa police officer shooting was the right one.
Last week, Maricopa County Judge Sam Myers decided not to release the video of Officer Philip Brailsford shooting Daniel Shaver back on January 18.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said it is unique when prosecutors and the defense are arguing on the same side, but they did in this instance. He said releasing the video could have affected potential jurors in the case.
“If it were to have been released, I am very concerned that it would have taken on a life of its own,” Montgomery said. “It still may at some point in the future.”
Brailsford is facing second-degree murder charges in Shaver’s death.
Media outlets had argued for the video’s release, saying it is public record. Shaver’s widow, Laney Sweet, also wanted prosecutors to let her see the video. The judge denied Sweet’s request.
Montgomery said he didn’t want to “learn another Arias lesson,” referring to the Jodi Arias case that received nationwide media attention, adding that since social media is so pervasive, releasing the video to the public could have made the process of the case more difficult.
“It’s no longer a situation where, if you miss it on the evening news or you miss that day’s paper, you missed it,” Montgomery said. “This stuff lives on.”
In last week’s ruling, Myers said the video should remain under protective order at least until a preliminary hearing later this month.
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