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Archive for December 11th, 2017|Daily archive page

THE SS COMES TO ARIZONA

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Social commentary on December 11, 2017 at 12:04 am

It’s the sort of outrage that could have easily been committed by the SS or KGB.

But, to the shame of the United States, it was committed by the Mesa Police Department.

Even more shamefully, the officer responsible for yet another killing of an unarmed man got to walk away from it.

In January, 2016, Daniel Shaver crawled on his hands and knees and begged for his life while facing six armed Arizona police officers.

One of the officers, Philip Brailsford, was carrying an AR-15 rifle with the phrase “You’re Fucked” etched into the weapon.

Shaver couldn’t see the etching.  But the commands of Sergeant Charles Langley—captured on a police body camera—were clearly audible.

They were the type to be expected from a dictator literally holding the power of life and death over others: Humiliating and fear-inspiring.

Shaver, 26, on a work-related trip to Mesa from Granbury, Texas, had been doing rum shots with a woman he had met earlier that day.  He had also been showing off a pellet gun he used to take out rodents in his work in pest control.

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Daniel Shaver and his wife, Laney

At some point, a caller informed the Mesa Police Department that a man was pointing a rifle out of a fifth-floor window at a La Quinta Inn.

When officers arrived at the Inn, they ordered Shaver and the woman to come out of the hotel room.  They did so and immediately complied with commands from Sergeant Langley.

Then occurred this exchange:

LANGLEY:  Stop right there! Stop! Stop!  Get on the ground both of you! Lay down on the ground. Lay down on the ground.

If you make a mistake, another mistake, there is a very severe possibility that you’re both going to get shot. Do you understand?  Who else is in the room?

SHAVER: Nobody.

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Philip Brailsford

[Langley then asked if they were sober enough to understand his commands.  Both Shaver and the woman said they were.]

SHAVER: What—?

LANGLEY:  Shut up. I’m not here to be tactful or diplomatic with you. You listen, you obey. For one thing: Did I tell you to move young man?

SHAVER: No.

LANGLEY: Put both hands on the top of your head and interlace your fingers.  Take your feet and cross your left foot over your right foot. 

Young man you’re not to move you’re to put your eyes down and look down at the carpet. You’re to keep your fingers interlaced behind your head. You’re to keep your legs crossed.

If you move we’re going to consider that a threat and we’re going to deal with it and you may not survive.

[Langley ordered the woman to crawl toward him.  She did so and was handcuffed off-camera.]

LANGLEY:  Young man listen to my instructions and do not make a mistake. You are to keep your legs crossed. Do you understand me?

SHAVER: Yes, sir.

LANGLEY:  You are to put both of your hands palms down straight out in front of you push yourself up to a kneeling position. I said keep your legs crossed! I didn’t say this as a conversation.

[Shaver put his hands behind his back.]

LANGLEY (shouting): I said put your hands up hands in the air! You do that again, we’re shooting you do you understand?

SHAVER: Please do not shoot me.

LANGLEY:  Then listen to my instructions!

SHAVER: I’m trying to do what you say—

LANGLEY: Don’t talk! Listen!  Hands straight up in the air!  Do not put your hands down for any reason. You think you’re gonna fall, you better fall on your face. Your hands go back into the small of your back or down we are going to shoot you. Do you understand me?

SHAVER: Yes, sir.

LANGLEY:  Crawl towards me, crawl towards me.

Shaver started crawling toward Langley and Brailsford, sobbing. At one point, he reached back toward his pants leg—possibly to pull up his shorts.

Suddenly Brailsford opened fire so quickly it sounded like a single shot—although Shaver was struck five times.

Brailsford later claimed he believed that Shaver was reaching for a gun.

The video makes clear that Shaver was thoroughly covered by the officers.  Any of them could have approached Shaver while he was prone and handcuffed him.

No gun was found on Shaver’s body. Two pellet rifles used in Shaver’s pest-control job were later found in the hotel room.

In May, 2016, Brailsford was charged with second-degree murder.

After deliberation for less than six hours over two days, jurors found Brailsford not guilty of second degree murder as well as of a lesser charge of reckless manslaughter.

“The justice system miserably failed Daniel (Shaver) and his family,” said Mark Geragos, an attorney for Shaver’s widow, Laney Sweet.

Brailsford was fired from the Mesa Police Department two months after the shooting.

Langley retired as a police officer and moved to the Philippines—where police death squads operate under orders from the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte.

According to a Washington Post database, there were at least 963 fatal police shootings in 2016.

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