The widow of an unarmed Texas man who was shot by police outside his hotel room in suburban Phoenix in 2016 has agreed to settle her wrongful death lawsuit.
A settlement complaint filed Tuesday in Arizona federal court shows that Laney Sweet, wife of Daniel Shaver, and their two children will receive $8 million from the city of Mesa.
A probate court approved the terms of the settlement and appointed an interim conservator.
In return, all legal claims of Sweet are unconditionally rejected.
In a statement released by her attorneys, Sweet acknowledged that the settlement will help her family financially. But “no amount of money can undo the transgressions that cruelly removed Daniel from the life of his family forever.”
“This settlement does nothing to heal the glaring lack of accountability by everyone involved since the night of Daniel’s death, which is causing irreparable harm to the criminal justice system,” Sweet said.
City of Mesa and Mesa Police Department spokeswomen declined to comment Wednesday.
Sweet first filed a lawsuit against both parties in 2017, seeking $75 million in damages. She claimed Shaver did not provoke the murder and it could have been avoided if officers had done more investigation.
The city settled a similar legal battle with Shaver’s parents last year for an undisclosed amount.
In January 2016, Mesa police officers went to the hotel after receiving a call that someone was pointing a gun out of a window.
They ordered Shaver, 26, of Granbury, Texas, to leave his hotel room, lie face down in a hallway and not make any sudden movements – or he risked being shot.
Then-official Philip Brailsford shot Shaver as the man was lying on the floor outside his hotel room and was being ordered to crawl toward the officers.
Brailsford was charged with murder in Shaver’s death, but a jury acquitted him of the charge.
Although no gun was found on Shaver’s body, two shotguns were later found in his room in connection with his pest control work.
The detective investigating the shooting agreed that Shaver’s movement resembled reaching for a gun, but said it also appeared like Shaver was pulling up his loose-fitting basketball shorts, which had fallen off when he was ordered to the to crawl to officials.
Mesa initially fired Brailsford but was later reinstated to claim a pension and then retired on medical grounds.
The US Department of Justice opened a civil rights violation investigation against Brailsford. In March 2018, the Mesa Police Department announced that the DOJ had subpoenaed the department for all documents related to the shooting.
The investigation is ongoing, according to Sweet and her attorneys, who urged the DOJ to “proceed expeditiously.”