Protests erupt in Mesa calling for justice for Daniel Shaver

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Protesters gather in downtown Mesa on Dec. 22, 2017 calling for justice for Daniel Shaver, shot and killed by a Mesa police officer in 2016. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Protesters gather in downtown Mesa on Dec. 22, 2017 calling for justice for Daniel Shaver, shot and killed by a Mesa police officer in 2016. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Protesters gathered in downtown Mesa on Thursday calling for justice after a former Mesa police officer was acquitted on murder charges after he shot and killed an unarmed man while on duty nearly two years ago.

[READ MORE: Mesa police release dramatic body camera video following Brailsford verdict]

The former officer, Mitch Brailsford, pulled the trigger when he saw the man, Daniel Shaver, reach for his waist during a January 2016 altercation at a La Quinta hotel in Mesa. 

Brailsford was just acquitted of second degree murder for Shaver's death earlier this month. 

[RELATED: Ex-Mesa police officer who shot, killed unarmed man found not guilty of murder]

A former officer who was once shot on duty, Scott Sefranka, was at the rally to show his support.

"It's actually a really unique position because I still have people on the force that I care about," Sefranka said. "I want to make sure that both sides are covered and that we can move forward and make sure that not only the police officers are safe but the public are safe as well and that there's true accountability for any actions that occur."

[SPECIAL SECTION: Murder trial of ex-Mesa officer Philip 'Mitch' Brailsford]

The detectives investigating the shooting agreed that Shaver's movement was similar to reaching for a pistol but also said it looked like Shaver was pulling up his loose-fitting basketball shorts, which had fallen.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Officer-involved shooting at a Mesa La Quinta Inn leaves man dead]

The investigator had noted he didn't see anything that would have prevented officers from simply handcuffing Shaver as he was on the floor.

Brailsford told the jury he didn't know if Shaver had a gun and given the situation, he says based on his training, he would have made the same decision.

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