Mesa officer charged in fatal shooting fired

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Philip Brailsford (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Philip Brailsford (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Philip Brailsford (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Philip Brailsford (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Officer Philip Mitchell Brailsford leaves court after a hearing on March 15, 2016 (Photo source: KPHO/KTVK) Officer Philip Mitchell Brailsford leaves court after a hearing on March 15, 2016 (Photo source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The Mesa police chief has terminated an officer involved in a fatal shooting in January.

Mesa police officer Philip Brailsford, 25, is accused of shooting Daniel Shaver on Jan. 18 at a Mesa La Quinta motel.

The Mesa Police Department sent out this statement in a news release on Monday afternoon:

"After a comprehensive review of the January incident resulting in the second-degree murder charge and the internal affairs complaint against Officer Brailsford, Chief Meza has decided to terminate Brailsford’s employment with the Mesa Police Department. The termination notice was completed today and is effective immediately. By policy, Brailsford has 15 days to appeal the termination."

Craig Mehrens, the attorney for Brailsford, said the firing "represents pure politics." He said Meza called Brailsford four days after the shooting "and told him he had, with other senior officers, viewed the video; and they had all concluded that it was a 'good shoot.'"

The Mesa Police Association said in a statement that firing Brailsford before his scheduled preliminary hearing Wednesday in the fatal shooting case "likely hurt his chances of receiving a fair trial. That is simply wrong."

In a press conference late Monday evening Nathan Schlitz, Executive Director of The Mesa Police Association said, "We strongly believe that the probable cause doesn't exist we strongly support Officer Brailsford and everything he's going through and we just were hoping that the city would allow due process to take place." 

Brailsford pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder during his initial court appearance on March 15.

Maricopa County prosecutors say Brailsford unjustifiably fired five shots.

[READ MORE: Mesa officer pleads not guilty in shooting death of Texas man]

[READ MORE: Mesa police officer charged in fatal shooting]

On Jan. 18, hotel guests reported seeing a man pointing a rifle outside a window. Authorities ordered Shaver to exit a hotel room and crawl toward officers.

Shaver was shot as he reached toward his waistline, possibly in an attempt to pull up his sagging shorts, according to investigators.

No weapons were recovered from Shaver's body, but police said they found two pellet rifles in the hotel room, which they later determined were related to his pest control job.

Maricopa County prosecutors concluded the shooting was not justified. They have so far declined to release video of the shooting from Brailsford's body camera.

A judge put Brailsford put on supervised release after his plea in the case and barred him for possessing a gun, which prosecutors requested instead of a bond.

Shaver, 26, was from Granbury, Texas. An attorney for his widow, Laney Sweet, has 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 Associated Press contributed to this report

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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