Jumping To Conclusions

On December 7, 2017, a Maricopa County jury found former Mesa police Officer Brailsford not guilty of second-degree murder charges in the 2016 shooting of Daniel Shaver, an unarmed Texas man who was on his knees begging for his life. The eight-member jury deliberated for less than six hours over two days before reaching their verdict. The shooting, and a video of the incident which was released by the police, triggered a firestorm of controversy. Many members of the public called the shooting a cold-blooded execution that was compeletely unjustified and could not comprehend how the jury consideredl it justified--especially after watching the video.

Some points to consider:

  • All Joe Public had was a single video of the shooting upon which to base their opinion--assuming they didn't already prejudge the situation even before they saw the video.
  • The jury was presented with testimony over the course of the seven week trial that included significantly more information than the five minute video seen by the public.
  • The prosecuting attorney did his best to convince the jury what Brailsford did was improper, but was unable to do so.

So like some people who will loudly proclaim they know their rights but can't explain what the 14th Amendment guarantees, maybe those armchair quarterbacks don't know as much as they think they do about what they saw. This is not to say what the Mesa Police did in this situation was ideal. Far from it. With the luxury of hindsight it's easy to pick their actions apart and say how those Officers could have handled it better. But they tried to do the best they could in the situation at hand. It could have been better, but it could also have been much worse.

This article (https://www.redstate.com/patterico/2017/12/09/shooting-daniel-shaver-law-enforcement-perspective) is a great read. It does an excellent job explaining why a single video clip without any additional context, training or experience can result in hasty conclusions that don't take all the facts into consideration.

December, 2017
Daniel Shaver