Maybe it shouldn’t be surprising anymore.
A cop murders a sobbing, unarmed man as he’s sprawled on the ground, begging not to be shot. This is one of the rare police killings where an officer was actually charged with a crime. But in the end, he was acquitted.
It shouldn’t be surprising, given the litany of cases — Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and on and on — in which killer cops walked free after murdering someone.
But anyone who has had the stomach to watch the footage of the last moments of Daniel Shaver’s life — to witness his terror, his frantic pleas, and the unchecked relish that Mesa, Arizona, police took in demanding his humiliating compliance in the moments before officer Philip Brailsford opened fire — should be outraged by both the circumstances of the killing and the fact that Brailsford is a free man today.
Daniel Shaver was killed in January 2016, but the video of his murder was only released to the public this week, after Brailsford was acquitted on charges of murder and manslaughter earlier this month.
For most people, there’s simply no way to view the four-plus minutes of footage, recorded by a body camera worn by Brailsford, without coming away sickened by the actions of police.
In an interview, veteran attorney Mark Geragos, who represents Shaver’s widow and two small children, described the chilling footage as some of the most horrifying he’s seen in his career:
One of the worst experiences I’ve ever had in my life is sitting in a courtroom with his widow, who watched it for the second time, and she literally went into convulsions. I had to grab her to hold her in a bear hug. It was just awful…
I’ve been doing criminal and civil rights [legal work] for 35 years. I’ve seen thousands of tapes. This is light years beyond anything I’ve ever seen…it burns a hole in your brain. I literally had nightmares about it.
Police were called to Shaver’s hotel room on January 18, 2016 after a report that he had been pointing a “rifle”…