Prosecution rests; defense of ex-Mesa cop begins

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Philip Mitch Brailsford in court. 27 Nov. 2017 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Philip Mitch Brailsford in court. 27 Nov. 2017 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
Det. Paul Sipe under cross examination. 27 nov. 2017 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Det. Paul Sipe under cross examination. 27 nov. 2017 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The prosecution rested its case Monday morning in the trial of a former Mesa police officer charged with murder.

The trial was on break for about a week and a half. When testimony resumed Monday, Det. Paul Sipe, the lead investigator on the case, was being cross-examined.

Prosecutors finished re-direct examination of Sipe, who had to investigate a fellow officer for murder.

Former Mesa police officer Philip “Mitch” Brailsford is on trial for second-degree murder after an on-duty shooting in January 2016.

[SPECIAL SECTION: INVESTIGATION: MESA OFFICER SHOOTS, KILLS UNARMED MAN AT MESA HOTEL]

Brailsford claims he shot and killed Daniel Shaver because he believed Shaver was reaching for a gun when he grabbed backward to the small of his back while he was on his knees after being confronted by several officers in the hallway of the La Quinta Inn in Mesa. 

Officers were called to the hotel because guests saw a man pointing a rifle out the window. Sipe said he questioned Brailsford's actions and decision to shoot Shaver, and was very concerned that the reports from all the officers on the scene left out crucial information.

“The information that all five officers left out of their reports had to do with Daniel Shaver's actions, his mindset, and what he was doing in the hallway. They omitted that he was crying, that he was begging. Any type of information like that mitigating his behavior was omitted,” said Sipe.

After Sipe finished, the prosecution rested its case.

Defense attorney, Michael Piccarreta, called his first witness after the lunch break Monday.

[RELATED: Only civilian witness to Mesa police shooting testifies in cop's murder trial]

Emanuel Kapelsohn, a police firearms and training expert, testified that just because a person is crying and begging not to be shot means little in regard to what action they may take.

“The suspect’s demeanor may be genuine or may be a ruse,” said Kapelsohn.

The defense expert witnessed also testified that he watched the video over and over, in slow motion and frame by frame, and in his opinion Shaver’s movement of his hand toward the small of his back, “looked exactly like a motion of pulling a gun out from that location.”

Kapelsohn also said that Brailsford acted as a well trained officer would act.

It turns out Shaver did not have a gun on him. He had a pellet rifle in his hotel room that he had been pointing out the window earlier in the evening.

Brailsford’s name appears on the witness list, but it is still unclear if he will take the stand and testify in his own defense. 

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