- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 15, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - A judge declined a widow’s request to set a six-figure bond Tuesday for an Arizona police officer charged with murder in the fatal shooting of her unarmed husband at a hotel two months ago.

Meanwhile, the Mesa Police Department took the first steps toward firing Officer Philip Brailsford.

Daniel Shaver’s widow told the judge that failing to set a bond for Brailsford sends a message that her husband’s life didn’t matter. Her lawyer complained that the officer was not actually arrested on a charge for which any other person would have been jailed.

“The no-bond (decision) sends a message that Daniel Shaver, that his life had no value,” said Laney Sweet, Shaver’s wife.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sam Myers put the officer on supervised release and barred him for possessing a gun, which prosecutors requested instead of bond. Myers said pretrial release conditions are not meant to punish people charged with crimes but are intended to ensure their appearance in court in the future. The judge said Brailsford posed no risk of skipping out.

The 25-year-old officer pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the Jan. 18 shooting death of Shaver, who was from Granbury, Texas.

In a statement released Tuesday evening, Mesa police officials said Brailsford was “served with notice of a pre-deprivation hearing … with a recommendation of termination.”

They said an internal affairs investigation was done “regarding inappropriate etching on the AR-15 patrol rifle used by Officer Brailsford. The department policy is clear: no modifications of any kind is permitted on service weapons.”

Hotel guests reported seeing a man pointing a rifle outside a window. Authorities ordered Shaver to exit a hotel room and crawl toward officers. He was shot as he reached toward his waistline, possibly in an attempt to pull up his sagging shorts, investigators say.

No weapons were recovered from Shaver’s body but they found two pellet rifles in the hotel room, which they later determined were related to his pest control job, police said. Prosecutors concluded the shooting was not justified.

Brailsford’s attorney, Craig Mehrens, told the judge that his client has strong ties to the community, has no prior criminal record and doesn’t pose a danger.

“There is no reason to believe that my client will not respond to this summons or any release conditions,” Mehrens said.

Marc Victor, an attorney representing Shaver’s widow, said it looks as though the officer is being treated differently than any other person facing a murder charge.

“The victim wants Officer Brailsford treated like everyone else,” Victor said as he asked for a six-figure bond.

Victor filed a notice of claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, seeking $35 million in Shaver’s death. The couple had two daughters, ages 6 and 3.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting Brailsford, has declined to release video of the shooting from Brailsford’s body camera.


Follow Jacques Billeaud at twitter.com/jacquesbilleaud. His work can be found at https://bigstory.ap.org/content/jacques-billeaud.

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