Home News Engraving on officer’s AR-15 used against him in court

Engraving on officer’s AR-15 used against him in court



Image credit: KPHO/KTVK
Image credit: KPHO/KTVK

A Mesa, Arizona police officer is finding himself betrayed by his own gun- and possibly facing a second degree murder charge following a duty-related shooting in January.

According to Tucson News Now, Officer Philip Brailsford pleaded not guilty at his first court appearance last Tuesday and was released without bond.

Facing possible termination from Mesa PD for the killing of Texan Daniel Shaver at a La Quinta hotel on January 18th, Brailsford is facing scrutiny from Shaver’s family attorney for a custom engraving on his AR-15’s dust cover.

The dust cover, internally engraved with a vulgar term, displays the words whenever the weapon’s bolt is pulled back, such as when it is firing off a round.

“Inscripted on the officer’s gun, and I hate to use profanity, but it said, ‘You’re F***ed,” said Laney Sweet, Daniel Shaver’s wife.

Unfortunately, Brailsford’s choice of decor has provided ammunition for the prosecutors.

“That statement tells me this is a person who’s enthusiastic about killing people,” said Marc Victor, lawyer for Sweet and her late husband. “That’s what that inscription means.”

Mesa PD has launched an internal investigation concerning the dust cover.

Many firearms and defense instructors discourage the use of aggressive customizations on duty and personal defense weapons, from hair triggers to inscriptions such as “You’re F***ed” or “Molon Labe”, citing that these extreme modifications can be used against the owner by court prosecutors.

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  1. If the shooting was justified cosmetics should have nothing to do with the criminal proceedings. It sounds more like the officer did something else questionable or a prosecutor abusing his authority.

    • They will effect he criminal proceedings, they will effect the civil case more so, and that arena has a lower burden of proof.

  2. without monday morning quarterbacking the incident under investigation, i think this is a good example of why leo should refrain from personalizing a duty weapon. actions taken in performance of your duty should never be personal.

  3. If you read the reports, in no way was deadly force necessary or right. I don’t know this officer, but knowing what is written in the reports, witness accounts then seeing that he would put such a thing in his duty weapon. That takes me from thinking this was an officer who made a horrible mistake, to a man looking forward to the day he got a chance to use his weapon against a suspect. He shot 5 times at an unarmed man, hitting him with I assume all 5 shots, certainly several.

  4. I would argue that it is merely “survival mentality” on the officer’s part. I interpret the meaning to be: “I win. I’m going home if I have to use the weapon.
    Now, personally as a public official, I wouldn’t do that to my weapon.

  5. I’ve been saying this for years. It was the “Punisher” logo that got me thinking about this. Could just imagine a lawyer saying something about it. Better to spend time practicing and improving your shooting skills… but that may be used against you too.

  6. I’m not comfortable with trusting someone who would write such a phrase on their weapon as an armed public servant. Citizens deserve better than some take no prisoners thug Militia member. Keep your war crap off our streets.

  7. This is the main problem we have with the mentality in LE these days. He is a public servant there to maintain the peace and protect all citizens, including the one he is pointing his weapon at. I see this as a training and hiring fail. LE is not military! Hiring ex military without retraining them is a mistake, and this only underscores the fact that this officer thinks of himself as a member of a military, not LE.

  8. Pretending I know nothing of the case, I would agree it is clearly indicative of the psyche. And I say that as a veteran who did in fact draw and write very aggressive things on gear while deployed. But that was while deployed in a warzone. To use that psyche while patrolling American streets shows desired intent. Now, back to not pretending I know nothing of the case, the dead guy was wearing basketball shorts and underwear and was forced to crawl toward the officers while audibly crying and asking not to be shot. The report states his shorts were sliding down and he reached to pull his shorts up and that’s when he was killed. Not sure how much of a clear open/shut case we need. While deployed, if I shot a prone, unarmed insurgent following my orders 5 times I’d be locked up in Ft Leavenworth.

  9. The LEO was F****** when he had that engraved on his “duty” weapon…On a rock pile for a very long time would be appropriate…No place in society for a cop to have that mentality…

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