Widow of man killed by Mesa police in 2016 agrees to $8M settlement

Nov 23, 2022, 11:28 AM | Updated: 12:02 pm
(Body Camera Screenshot)...
(Body Camera Screenshot)
(Body Camera Screenshot)

PHOENIX – The widow of a man shot and killed by a Mesa police officer in a hotel hallway in 2016 has agreed to an $8 million settlement with the city.

Laney Sweet had sued for $75 million in damages over the death of Daniel Shaver in 2017.

The settlement on behalf of Sweet and her two children with Shaver was submitted Tuesday and awaits court approval. Shaver’s parents reached a $1.5 million settlement with the city last year.

“While this settlement helps Daniel’s widow and children with the financial stability to move forward, it does not erase the cruelty of his killing, or the malicious campaign by the Mesa Police Department — orchestrated and implemented by their attorneys for over six years of needless, malevolent scorched-earth litigation,” said a statement issued by Sweet’s attorneys and attributed to her.

“This settlement does nothing to cure the blatant lack of accountability by all involved since the night of Daniel’s death, which stands as an irredeemable blight on the criminal justice system.”

Philip Brailsford shot Shaver, a Granbury, Texas, resident, at the La Quinta Inn and Suites near Superstition Springs Boulevard and U.S. 60 on Jan. 18, 2016. He was charged with second-degree murder and found not guilty in late 2017.

Brailsford and other officers were dispatched to the hotel in response to reports of a suspect pointing a rifle out of a room window.

Body camera footage (WARNING: graphic images and strong language) of the shooting, which jurors were shown during the trial, showed Brailsford aiming a rifle at Shaver and ordering him to crawl forward.

When Shaver, 26, who was sobbing as he crawled, appeared to reach toward the waistband of his shorts, Brailsford fired five shots. Brailsford said in court he thought Shaver was reaching for a weapon.

No weapons were found on Shaver’s body. Two pellet rifles related to his pest-control job were in his room.

The Mesa Police Department fired Brailsford after he was charged, but he was temporarily rehired in 2018 so he could apply for a pension.

The U.S. Department of Justice opened a civil rights violation investigation against Brailsford. In March 2018, the Mesa Police Department revealed the DOJ had subpoenaed the department for all documents about the shooting.

In her statement, Sweet urged federal authorities to pursue charges.

“As this chapter closes, we call upon the Department of Justice to swiftly proceed with its ongoing investigation and announce the federal criminal charges of officers involved, and bring justice where the state of Arizona has failed,” the statement said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Widow of man killed by Mesa police in 2016 agrees to $8M settlement