MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – The Mesa police officer who was fired after shooting and killing an unarmed man at a La Quinta Inn in January 2016 was rehired by the Mesa Police Department more than two years later and is now medically retired -- and drawing a pension.

[WATCH: Ex-Mesa PD officer acquitted of murder rehired so he receives benefits]

Former Officer Philip "Mitch" Brailsford was terminated on March 21, 2016. He appealed the decision the next day.

"The appeal was held in abeyance until the criminal case against Mr. Brailsford was concluded," City of Mesa spokesman Kevin Christopher told Arizona's Family in an emailed statement. (See his full statement at the bottom of this story.)

Brailsford was tried for second-degree murder in the shooting death of Daniel Shaver.

[RELATED: Attorney: Mesa police officer 'stunned' by murder charge (March 5, 2016)]

[RELATED: Mesa cop facing murder charge 'very confident' he'll be exonerated (Oct. 21, 2016)]

A jury acquitted him on Dec. 7, 2017.

In August 2018, Brailsford signed an agreement with the City of Mesa outlining the terms of his rehiring "for the sole and limited purpose of allowing Brailsford to file an application for Accidental Disability-Medical Retirement …."

Brailsford's hiring was only on paper.

"This agreement eliminated the need for a Mesa Personnel Appeals Board hearing," Christopher said.

The agreement clearly states "that his rehiring does not confer upon him any right to be assigned any duties, to perform any work, or to receive any compensation or other employee benefits as a Mesa Police Officer" while awaiting a decision on his application.

According to the agreement, the City of Mesa would reimburse Brailsford "for reasonable medical expenses arising out of his treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ("PTSD") … from the first date of his medical treatment for PTSD … up to the date of determination by the Local Board."

The Public Safety Personnel Retirement System Local Board "determined that Mr. Brailsford met the qualifications for medical retirement citing information provided by multiple independent medical professionals," Christopher said. "Mr. Brailsford is now medically retired through PSPRS."

According to PSPRS, Brailsford's monthly benefit is about $2,500.

Retired Mesa Police Officer Bill Richardson says he was shocked by the decision.

“It just made me want to throw up for a lot of different reasons. He was charged for a reason. And the charging standards to charge a police officer in Maricopa County are extremely high. Just because a jury comes back with a not guilty verdict doesn't mean they didn’t do it,” said Richardson.

Brailsford's been receiving his monthly benefits for nearly a year. His medical retirement was not made public till now. That's a fact that bothers Richardson.

“And the City could have come forth when it started and said, 'Look, this is what we're doing. This is why we're doing it. We're afraid of being sued,’” said Richardson. “If they'd had just been honest about it, but the idea that it happened in secret and discovered by the press and not by the city coming forth really sends the wrong message to the people that they want to trust them."

Richardson also says this might cast a shadow on the police department, even though the department had likely no say in this. This decision was ultimately made by the City of Mesa.

As for the gun Brailsford used that day, he owned it himself and was allowed to carry it on duty.

During the initial investigation, Mesa PD discovered vulgar inscription on the rifle that did not meet department policy. Inside of the rifle’s dust cover were the words "You're F***ed."  

In February of this year, Brailsford filed for bankruptcy. In that paperwork, his lists three firearms as assets. One, an AR-15, the same kind he used the day Shaver was killed.

Kevin Christopher's full statement

Philip ‘Mitch’ Brailsford was terminated by the Mesa Police Department on March 21, 2016. Mr. Brailsford, through his attorney, requested an appeal of his dismissal on March 22, 2016. The appeal was held in abeyance until the criminal case against Mr. Brailsford was concluded. On December 7, 2017, Mr. Brailsford was acquitted. On August 23, 2018, a settlement agreement between the City of Mesa and Mr. Brailsford allowed him to file for accidental disability and a medical retirement with the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System Local Board. This agreement eliminated the need for a Mesa Personnel Appeals Board hearing. During the time that Mr. Brailsford was making his application for medical retirement, he was not paid and was not assigned any police officer duties. The one-year timeframe to apply for an accidental disability pension began for Mr. Brailsford once the trial concluded. The PSPRS Local Board determined that Mr. Brailsford met the qualifications for medical retirement citing information provided by multiple independent medical professionals. Mr. Brailsford is now medically retired through PSPRS.


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



Recommended for you

(26) comments


I'll find it really hard to care the next time a Mesa PD officer gets merc'd. This guy is a worthless piece of sheeeet.


I can’t stand this guy. He looks like the coffee and pajama on Christmas boy, and judging by the gun with the inscription and career choice, has about as much testicular fortitude. The psych board that allowed him to be a cop failed miserably. You can look at him and tell he never had any business being a police officer. These are the psychos who give police a bad name. Sissy little princesses that get badges and guns to get even with the bullies. I honestly love and respect most cops. They’re in my family, they have a thankless job, and I know most are great people that put their lives at risk to protect all of us. But this one infuriates me.


He won’t be around long , someone will take care of him . KARMA


I'm generally pretty pro-police, I think what they have to deal with is insane, but this is ridiculous. It's bad enough he was cleared, but now he gets to suck off the taxpayer teat for the rest of his life. He's no better than the trash suing PD's for every mindless criminal act they commit and get caught for, he's bleeding the citizens.

JF Conlon

Hope the jerk chokes on his PTSD pills!


Don't you just love attorneys! Intelligent people know when to seek their counsel. Whether you agree (like the jury did) or disagree with the shooting, you have to appreciate someone being intelligent enough to legally use the system to their benefit.


""This agreement eliminated the need for a Mesa Personnel Appeals Board hearing," Christopher said." I would have supported Mesa paying for this....the appeals board and not, now, having to pay for the next 40 years for this guy. Obey, can you get me a job on the police force? I will work 2 years, shoot someone who doesn't deserve it and then collect the same way.... come on, you have the inside scoop on this.


Funny how I don't remember anyone posting at the time of his firing that he was a scammer who was going to sue and collect a big paycheck as those same people do when they post about someone who is allegedly a victim of police abuse, especially a non-white person.


Because we didn't know he was going to do this perhaps.....


Just another example of the distrust of police authority that the common folk have, now more than ever! By my time spent on this site you are all well aware by now that I don't agree with blaming or reprimanding one for the actions of another but this just adds to the old phrase "What's good for the goose is good for the gander!" One dirty cop, all dirty cops so no coffee for you! Game on!


What kind of hypocritical mumble jumble are you spewing forth now? You contradict everything you say, constantly. So one bad cop spoils the whole bunch and we should hate them all? Sorry game closed!

Wearenotperfect (Not just one, quite a few. That leash around your neck is getting shorter with every passing news article Marley ol' pal!)


Over 700,000 sworn full-time police officers in the US and you can mention 2 of them. I'll go with those percentages any day of the week. 1.1 million doctors in the US, how many graduated in the very bottom of their class and how many people have appointments with them today? You are wasting your time trying to justify your anti-authority stance due to a fraction of a percent of bad cops. Overwhelming majority willing to risk their lives day in and day out to serve their communities and they don't do it for the chump change salaries they are paid. Just grow some balls, hop off your snowflake fence and admit you hate cops, free yourself, libbie.


Go ahead and post the job records and news articles of those 700,000 police officers and I will concur that these two incidents are the only ones in America of police misconduct, take your time, I'll wait! As usual, you neglect to grasp the point I'm making which is society asking that same old worn out question "Why is there a rise of anti-police mentally more now than before?" This is the reason why Perfect Marley and the fact that you can't see that which is right in front of you face is really disturbing and doesn't give your argument a leg to stand on!


The only-recent rise in anti-police mentality is due in large part to media sensationalization of police shootings that were most, if not all, found justified. That coupled with the false narrative of the BLM has swayed snowflakes and other gullible audiences. While there will always be unjustified shootings with a million or so police interactions annually, people today, including yourself feel you have the right to refuse to comply and only escalate things. Who was the kid in Ferguson that was started the whole thing pretty much. You know the 200lb. black teen that was strong-arming the Asian shopkeeper then proceeded to start punching the officer in the face while the cop was sitting in his patrol car? Cop shot his thug a$$ dead, and then the black community went ape sh*t crazy. You can't fix stupid!


So you pick out one incident and think it justifies cops to misbehave? Who's a hypocrite now! Unlike you, Perfect Marley, I have a pretty good idea on the numbers of police misconduct and don't have neither the time or patience to sit here and explain those to you. You said you can't fix stupid and your right, hopefully there's a doctor that can cure your delusion and ignorance!


The cops really like to take care of one another, don't they? Only two years on the job and he gets a lifetime $30,000 a year from the taxpayers of Mesa, and all he had to do was murder a man who was begging for his life. Nice scam they got going. I won't hold my breath waiting for AZ politicians to do something about this either.


mormons supporting mormons on the taxpayer's dime.


you are so right


This is OUTRAGEOUS!!! Dude should be in Jail! You are SO corrupt Mesa!


brailsford is a mormon, do you think? Probably so for this fiasco to fly.


Makes sense!


Huh? He's probably a martian too, and a vegetarian.


dude - It's not corruption just because it's beyond your ability to comprehend it...


What aren't we comprehending? That a guy got lucky and not convicted (while those that saw the tape could see it was totally inappropriate if not unlawful) and now gets 30k for FREE for killing someone?



Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.