Mesa cop facing murder charge 'very confident' he'll be exonerated

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Former officer accused of murder speaks out (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Former officer accused of murder speaks out (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A former Mesa police officer accused of second-degree murder for an on-duty shooting says he is confident he will be exonerated.

Philip “Mitch” Brailsford spoke briefly after a court appearance Friday, during which his attorney argued the former officer did not receive a fair preliminary hearing.

“I’m feeling very confident with my case. I’m just taking things day-by-day,” Brailsford said. “This has been a very traumatizing and stressful event in my life. However, I understand due process and just have to wait this thing out.”

In January, Brailsford and five other Mesa officers stormed a La Quinta Inn after callers reported seeing a man point a rifle out of a fifth-floor window. The incident was recorded on body camera video.

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

[READ MORE: Body-cam video released from fatal Mesa officer-involved shooting (Warning: Explicit language)]

Transcripts of the video show officers ordered Daniel Shaver to the ground, and the 26-year-old did not comply with commands about where to put his hands. Shaver also begged officers not to shoot him.

According to Brailsford’s attorney in court, officers ordered Shaver twice not to reach behind his back, but when he did, Brailsford opened fire. Officers later discovered Shaver was intoxicated and was not armed.

“After being told twice not to [reach behind his back] very clearly or he would be shot and the individual nonetheless does that -- if you wait until you see the weapon, it’s too late. It’s the principle of action versus reaction,” defense attorney Mike Piccarreta told a judge.

Daniel Shaver's widow, Laney Sweet, was in the audience.

"What happened in court today was really emotional," she said. "I thought the defense tried to distort the facts in Brailsford's favor."

Sweet said her husband was "executed wrongfully" and said it was difficult hearing arguments from the defense that the shooting was justified.

"What [Brailsford's] job was that day was to protect and serve and not execute a man who was begging for his life," she said.  

The defense argued that Brailsford did not receive a fair preliminary hearing because certain evidence, including expert testimony, was excluded. Piccarreta said that evidence could get the case tossed out before trial.

A judge is expected to rule on Piccarreta’s motion in a few weeks.

[Raw video: Mesa officer charged with murder 'feeling very confident']

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

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