Arizona cop is cleared of murder after fatally shooting unarmed man who begged him not to pull trigger

A former Arizona cop was cleared of murder on Thursday in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man who cried and begged police not to pull the trigger just moments before he was killed.

The verdict cleared Philip Mitchell Brailsford, 27, of criminal liability in the death of Daniel Shaver, a married father-of-two from Granbury, Texas.

The shooting occured in January 2016, after police responded to reports that someone in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa was pointing a gun out the window of La Quinta Inn.

Shaver was unarmed, although police later found two pellet rifles related to his pest-control job inside his hotel room.

Newly-released body camera footage shows responding officers screaming at Shaver to exit his hotel room, lay face-down in the hallway, and refrain from making sudden movements.

The graphic video shows Shaver complying with orders to crawl towards the officers when Brailsford fires his rifle.

The former cop said he believed Shaver was grabbing a handgun in his waistband.

A detective investigating the shooting said while it may have looked as if Shaver were reaching for a gun, it also appeared that he was pulling up his loose-fitting basketball shorts that had fallen down when he was ordered to crawl.

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Outrage in response to Michael Slager's jury
CHARLESTON, SC - NOVEMBER 3: Former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager, second from right, sits at the defense table and listens to his lawyer in the courtroom, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 in Charleston, S.C. Slager faces 30 years to life if convicted of murder in the April 2015 death of Scott, whose shooting, captured on a bystander's dramatic cellphone video, spread on social media and stunned the nation. (Photo by Grace Beahm-Pool/Getty Images)
Walter Scott's jury: 11 white men, one black man. Said it's a makeup of the local area even though it's 30%black. 🙄
@AP Racism alive and well in the US.
@AP WTF? Charleston has a huge black population and they could only come up with ONE?????????
Jury in Walter Scott murder trial has been selected: 6 White Men 5 White Women 1 Black Male #WalterScott #MichaelSlager
CHARLESTON, SC - NOVEMBER 3: Arthur Heyward, a neighbor of Walter Scott speaks in the courtroom during the trial for North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 in Charleston, S.C. Slager faces 30 years to life if convicted of murder in the April 2015 death of Scott, whose shooting, captured on a bystander's dramatic cellphone video, spread on social media and stunned the nation. (Photo by Grace Beahm-Pool/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - NOVEMBER 3: Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson, right, speaks during legal proceedings in front of Judge Clifton Newman during the trial for former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager, in the courtroom, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 in Charleston, S.C. Wilson told the jury of 11 white people and one black man in her opening statement that former North Charleston officer Slager may have been provoked if Walter Scott wrestled his stun gun from him, but that doesn't justify shooting Scott in the back as he tried to run away. (Photo by Grace Beahm-Pool/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - NOVEMBER 2: Lawyers discuss in front of Judge Clifton Newman ahead of the trial for former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager, in the courtroom, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016 in Charleston, S.C. A panel of 11 white jurors and one black juror will decide the case against Michael Slager, who faces 30 years to life if convicted of murder in the April 2015 shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott. Scott fled a traffic stop in North Charleston and his shooting was captured by a bystander on dramatic cellphone video that stunned the nation. (Photo by Grace Beahm-Pool/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - NOVEMBER 3: Former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager, second from right, stands in the courtroom, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 in Charleston, S.C. A panel of 11 white jurors and one black juror will decide the case against Michael Slager, who faces 30 years to life if convicted of murder in the April 2015 shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott. Scott fled a traffic stop in North Charleston and his shooting was captured by a bystander on dramatic cellphone video that stunned the nation. (Photo by Grace Beahm-Pool/Getty Images)
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The officers could have simply handcuffed Shaver while he was on the floor, the detective added.

“There are no winners in this case, but Mitch Brailsford had to make a split-second decision on a situation that he was trained to recognize as someone drawing a weapon and had one second to react,” his attorney Michael Piccarreta said.

“He didn’t want to harm Mr. Shaver... The circumstances that night that were presented led him to conclude that he was in danger. Try to make a decision in one second, life or death. It’s pretty hard.”

Brailsford was on the Mesa police force for two years before he was fired for violations of departmental policy, including unsatisfactory performance.

Shaver’s widow, Laney Sweet, shook her head “no” after the jury’s decision and said she wasn’t going to answer any questions.

Both Sweet and Shaver’s parents have filed wrongful-death lawsuits against the city of Mesa over the shooting death.

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