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Widow of North Texas man killed in Arizona police shooting receives $8 million settlement

A police officer shot Daniel Shaver in a Mesa, Arizona, hotel hallway in 2016. Shaver was unarmed.

DALLAS — The city of Mesa, Arizona, will pay $8 million to the widow and daughters of a North Texas man shot and killed by a Mesa police officer in 2016.

Daniel Shaver, of Granbury, was unarmed when he was shot five times by a police officer in the hallway of a La Quinta Inn on Jan. 18, 2016.

“I feel like I’m coming out of a six-and-a-half-year war,” said Shaver’s widow, Laney Sweet.

The settlement secures a future for their now 13 and 10-year-old daughters, Sweet said.

Daniel Shaver with his children

But she added that it also equates to “some level of accountability and justice.”

Shaver was at a La Quinta Inn in Mesa when he was killed.

Police had been called to the hotel by guests who thought they spotted a man with a rifle in a window.

Shaver had pellet guns in his room that were related to his pest control business.

Shaver was intoxicated when police ordered him into the hall and onto his knees.

Body camera footage captured him crying and saying, “Please don’t shoot me.”

When he reached for his waistband as he crawled, he was shot five times.

He was not armed.

The pellet guns were in his room.

Mesa Police Officer Phillip Brailsford was charged with murder but found not guilty.

Philip Brailsford exits Maricopa County Superior Court with his wife and his attorney, Craig Mehrens, on March 15. Brailsford, a Mesa police officer, is charged with second-degree murder following the fatal shooting of Texas resident Daniel Shaver.

But the Department of Justice has an active and open investigation, according to Sweet.

“What we want to see is justice on the federal level with the DOJ announcing federal charges,” she said.

Sweet is torn about the settlement because she wanted to see it through to a trial in order to gain more evidence that might help in a federal case.

She also wanted to continue fighting on behalf of other victims of police brutality, she said.

But for her and her children’s physical and mental health, she said it was time to end this battle.

“This is the highest verdict for a deceased victim in the state of Arizona, so that sets the bar in Arizona higher up for future victims. Because unfortunately as much as I wish police would stop killing people, it’s going to continue to happen,” she said.

Sweet said her older daughter knows what she lost because she has memories of her father.

But their younger daughter doesn’t.

The court proceedings have consumed their lives and Sweet doesn’t want that to be the only context in which they hear about their dad.

So, she works every day to humanize him.

“Danny was generous,” she said.

The three of them frequently do random acts of kindness to honor Shaver’s life.

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