The Valley's law enforcement community is in a state of shock after criminal charges were filed against a Mesa police officer.

That officer, Philip Brailsford, is accused of using undue force when he reportedly shot and killed an unarmed man at a Mesa motel.

Brailsford is now facing second-degree murder charges.

According to court records, Brailsford shot Daniel Shaver five times at a La Quinta Inn back in January.

Police had been called to the scene after guests reported seeing a man point a rifle out a fifth story window.

Valley defense attorney Dwane Cates said that prosecutors and the public have historically given officers the benefit of the doubt during deadly encounters, considering the split-second life and death decisions officers must make.

However, cell phones and body camera video have placed officers under more intense scrutiny, according to Cates.

"It's really a good thing because we want to know what really happened, not what people said happened," said Cates. "That way, when there's a bad officer that does something bad, we have video of it and don't have to guess what somebody did."

In the past 20 years there have only been a few Valley officers that have gone on trial for killing someone in the line of duty.

In 2004, a jury found Chandler police officer Dan Lovelace not guilty of second-degree murder.

In 2013, Phoenix police officer Richard Chrisman was convicted of manslaughter.

Levi Bolton, executive director of the Arizona Police Association, said that most of the time police officers get it right, but every so often an incident calls for more intense scrutiny.

Bolton insisted that you have to let the court system run its course.

"I think its part of the job," said Bolton. "I think our men and women accept that. As opposed to being an involved officer, you are now a suspect. That is a very difficult hat to wear, particularly when you get up that morning and were going to work to fight for truth, justice and American way. That's a very different transition, that in a matter of hours you could find yourself in handcuffs and in back of a car."

Shaver's widow has filed a $35 million wrongful death notice of claim against the city of Mesa.

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

Recommended for you