When I heard about this incident, I thought, “No way, this can’t be a bad shoot.” Over the last several years, I have investigate a number of shootings, detailing each and every word spoken and action taken to see if there’s anything which could have been done differently in order to change the outcome. One such example involved the Kajieme Powell shooting.
I began by finding a well-written article on the subject, one with full video. I used this article: Lohr, D. (December 8, 2017). Former cop acquitted of fatally shooting unarmed man who begged for his life. HuffPost. Retrieved from: https://www.yahoo.com/news/former-cop-acquitted-fatally-shooting-174933492.html
In order to prevent any writer’s prose from coloring my judge, I watched the video, first. My first reaction was, “My GOD? WHAT ‘failure to comprehend simple instructions?’ ” By the second time through the video, I began to see some inconsistencies and irregularities and began taking notes. It took seven complete times through the video, with many pauses and section re-plays for detailed notes, before I arrived at the following conclusion:
This MORON hasn’t the SLIGHTEST FREAKING CLUE that MOST people, when surprised by someone pointing a gun at them will respond in three ways:
- Freeze in stark raving terror.
- Autonomously continue (as in walking) as their brain attempts to make sense of what’s going on.
- Flee in stark raving terror.
Few people actually respond immediately and appropriately to shouted instructions. That actually takes training, such as the kind of training common to law enforcement and military.
Upon reviewing my notes again, I arrived at some detailed conclusions:
This $HIT for brains wrongly assumed that the general public will respond in the same way.
This $HIT for brains FAILED TO FOLLOW PROCEDURE, which involves securing (handcuffing) suspects. You DO NOT stand there and talk to them as if you’re on some kind of power trip. You DO NOT question them at gunpoint.
“If you move we are going to consider that a threat.” WRONG. “Listen to my instructions and do not make a mistake.” WRONG. People under duress COMMONLY make mistakes. Law enforcement is SUPPOSED to be trained to DEAL deviations from exact adherence to given commands. In fact, POST standards DEMAND the law enforcement recognize deviations as NORMAL and NOT SHOOT.
This $HIT for brains began screaming at the suspect. There’s a HUGE difference between yelling and screaming. Yelling is necessary to overcome noise in the communications channel, such as traffic, crowds, or machinery. Screaming occurs when the officer has LOST CONTROL OF HIMSELF.
“You do that again we’re shooting you…” WRONG – WRONG – WRONG. This $HIT FOR BRAINS has made up his mind that any additional failure on the guy’s ability to exactly follow his commands is grounds for pulling the trigger. That is NOT the standard to which he was trained.
At this point he has inexorably convinced me that he has VIOLATED his training, going off on his own. Who’s to say why? Perhaps he played too many first person shooter games in his spare time. If so, that’s his fault, as well, as those games DILUTE and may actually COUNTER proper law enforcement training.
“Keep your hands straight in the air. If you think you’re going to fall you better fall on your face.” This $HIT FOR BRAINS is now commanding a human being to voluntarily counter a strong, instinctive reflex. That’s DEFINITELY counter to proper law enforcement training. He’s also further upsetting his suspect by threatening to shoot him.
YOU NEVER THREATEN TO SHOOT ANOTHER HUMAN BEING. There’s nothing wrong with being ready to do so if they do anything that’s actually a threat. But by threatening them, particularly with additional information like this guy was tossing out, simply backs people into a very dangerous, desperate corner.
“Brailsford said he thought Shaver was reaching for a gun when he fatally shot him. No gun was found on Shaver’s body.”
Former Mesa police officer Mitch Brailsford is a BLITHERING IDIOT. I can’t call this 1st Degree murder. In fact, I’m wondering if this is 2nd Degree murder, as it appears to lack the three typical situations that can constitute second degree murder:
- A killing done impulsively without premeditation, but with malice aforethought
- A killing that results from an act intended to cause serious bodily harm
- A killing that results from an act that demonstrates the perpetrators depraved indifference to human life
But is it voluntary manslaughter? “The circumstances leading to the killing must be the kind that would cause a reasonable person to become emotionally or mentally disturbed; otherwise, the killing may be charged as a first-degree or second-degree murder.”
He’s a law enforcement officer, trained and certified by an academy, the department, and by proxy, the municipality of his employment. It is REASONABLE to assume they have weeded out people who will NOT become emotionally or mentally disturbed in those situations. Therefore, it’s not voluntary manslaughter.
So let’s revisit the three typical situations that can constitute second degree murder:
1. A killing done impulsively without premeditation, but with malice aforethought
2. A killing that results from an act intended to cause serious bodily harm
3. A killing that results from an act that demonstrates the perpetrators depraved indifference to human life
The nature of the officer’s comments, such as “if you don’t do exactly as I say we will shoot you” certainly meets the requirements of the first situation. As a trained police office, he is most certainly aware the act of shooting a person causes serious bodily harm or death, and he pulled the trigger five times, so he really meant it.
I think the third point, if it even applies, would be very difficult to prove. Regardless, the definition only requires that ONE of these conditions be met, and former Mesa police officer Mitch Brailsford’s actions meet two of them.
I watched the video, first, as I didn’t want the reporter’s opinion to taint my observations. Now that I’ve read it, let’s continue:
The excuse that Shaver was reaching for a gun is found to be immaterial for two reasons. First, he didn’t have a gun. Still, one might reasonably conclude he was reaching for a gun, EXCEPT for the fact that his EMPTY hand was returning towards the front of his body, fully visible by both Brailsford and his body camera, BEFORE Brailsford fired the first shot at 4:25. Don’t believe me? Watch it for yourself:
Here’s the still of Daniel Shaver’s EMPTY HAND prior to Brailsford firing his first shot:
Second, and this is the most important reason: Former Mesa police officer Mitch Brailsford’s WRONGFUL ACTIONS actually PRECIPITATED the moment. He failed to follow procedure. He either failed to understand or refused to recognize how his screaming and threats of shooting the suspect directly CAUSED the suspect’s emotional breakdown.
Here’s the real kicker: “The investigator had noted he didn’t see anything that would have prevented officers from simply handcuffing Shaver as he was on the floor.”
BOOM. He SHOULD have been found guilty of 2nd Degree Murder. The jury failed our system of justice. Indeed, “Two months after the shooting, Brailsford was removed from the force for violations of departmental policy. Prosecutors ultimately charged him with second-degree murder and reckless manslaughter.”
The department was absolutely correct in their assessment that he violated department policy. The fact that his policy violations result in the death of an innocent human being is itself grounds for at least manslaughter. The rather heinous ego-maniacal, control freak way he went about doing what he did, however, clearly bumps this well into the category of 2nd Degree Murder.
The jury, for whatever reason, FAILED to administer justice. It FAILED to hold this bad cop accountable. The jury FAILED to serve the needs of society, one of which involves keeping wayward governmental authorities in check.
However, “civil charges will likely be charged against Brailsford in the near future.”
Good. He needs to work his butt off for the rest of his life to help compensate the loss experienced by Shaver’s wife and two children. If I ever come across Brailsford in a dark alley, I’ll be inclined to deck him with every ounce of strength I have in my body. I will undoubtedly refrain from doing so, however, as I’m a retired military officer and am unlikely to lose control, no matter how much this incident ticks me off.