Tag Archives: unarmed

Citizens of Portsmouth Forced to Pay $1,000,000 to Compensate Family for William Chapman’s Murder

Earlier this week, a judge in Portsmouth, Virginia approved a $1 million settlement offer from the city to the family of William Chapman II. As has been reported previously at the CopBlock Network (see “related posts” below) by myself and several other CopBlock Network contributors, Chapman was murdered outside of a local Walmart by Portsmouth Police Officer Stephen Rankin.

Officer Rankin was later charged with murder in the case, but ended up only being convicted of manslaughter and receiving a sentence of just 2.5 years in prison. Although the family was preparing to do so, this settlement was actually offered without a lawsuit having been filed against the city. That’s likely due to the evidence that would have been presented during a lawsuit showing that eighteen year old Chapman, who was unarmed when shot, was actually shot from a distance. That contradicts Rankin’s claim that Chapman was a direct threat to him as a justification for the shooting.

Via the Virginia-Pilot:

Former Portsmouth Officer Stephen Rankin shot and killed Chapman on April 22, 2015, in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart on Frederick Boulevard.

The officer was investigating a shoplifting report when he approached Chapman, and a physical altercation ensued.

A jury convicted Rankin on Aug. 4 of voluntary manslaughter and recommended he serve 2½ years in prison. Circuit Judge Johnny Morrison imposed the full sentence last month during an emotional hearing.

Following Rankin’s conviction, (attorney Jon) Babineau announced plans to sue the city, former police Chief Ed Hargis and Rankin.

He argued the city and Hargis were negligent in hiring and retaining Rankin and that Rankin wrongfully killed Chapman.

Babineau and the city reached the settlement before he filed the suit, though.

According to the petition, Portsmouth is willing to pay the Chapman estate $1 million as long as the family agrees not to pursue claims against the city, Hargis and Rankin.

The petition also stresses that the city and the Chapman family agree the settlement should not be construed as “an admission of fault or responsibility…”

Earl Lewis, a cousin of William Chapman II who serves as a spokesman for the family…lamented the case won’t go to trial.

He said an investigation spearheaded by Babineau had unearthed a lot of new information about Rankin and the Police Department. And he pointed to a BBC documentary that aired Wednesday in the United Kingdom with an interview from a former Portsmouth police lieutenant. The lieutenant said he warned his supervisors about Rankin before the Chapman shooting, but nothing happened.

“We still haven’t gotten all the facts,” Lewis said, arguing that a trial could have resulted in new revelations with the possibility of a larger monetary award. “Me, myself, I am a betting man. I would have taken it to trial.”

Lewis argued a lawsuit against Wal-Mart might still be warranted. And Babineau said he is researching what liability the retailer might face for calling police on Chapman and following him outside.

“We are not aware of any evidence indicating William Chapman stole anything,” Babineau said.

As Chapman’s cousin, Earl Lewis, points out, the settlement will also prevent further questioning of the Portsmouth Police Department. One of those questions would be why fifteen seconds of the video, which just happens to comprise the moments in which Chapman was shot, somehow disappeared from the official video sent to the lawyer representing Chapman’s family.

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Update: Daniel Shaver Cried, Begged For His Life Before Mesa Policeman Executed Him

As has been previously reported here on the CopBlock Network several times, Daniel Shaver was visiting Mesa, Arizona from Texas on a business trip in January of this year. During that trip, he was shot to death by Mesa Police Officer Philip Brailsford. Ofc. Brailsford has since been charged with second degree murder for the shooting.

Now, more details have been released concerning the circumstances leading up to the shooting. Those details include descriptions from the body camera footage and it does not paint Brailsford or the Mesa police in a good light. In fact, it could not sound worse.

According to that newly released police report, Shaver was following the orders of the officers at the time he was murdered. Furthermore, the report states that as Shaver was crawling on his hands and knees he was audibly crying and begging for his life before Officer Brailsford executed him with five shots of his rifle. The apparent justification that Brailsford used for his actions was that Shaver had touched his waist in order to pull his shorts up.

Via the New York Daily News:

An unarmed man who was shot and killed by an Arizona police officer in January cried, complied with police orders and begged for his life before the fatal firing, according to a newly released police report.

Mesa Police Officer Philip Brailsford has been charged with second-degree murder for the death of Daniel Shaver, a 26-year-old Texas man. Authorities have declined to release Brailsford’s body cam footage from the deadly encounter.

Brailford's AR-15 with "You're Fucked" Inscribed on it.

Brailsford’s AR-15 with “You’re Fucked” Inscribed on it.

But a report released Tuesday includes extensive description of the footage, detailing Shaver’s desperate final moments before Brailsford fired five shots at him with an AR-15 rifle.

Police confronted Shaver January 8 after responding to reports of a man pointing a rifle out the fifth-floor window of a La Quinta hotel.

The night of his death, Shaver had invited a man and woman at the hotel to his room for drinks, according to the report.

After some shots of rum, the man asked Shaver about a case that appeared to hold a musical instrument. Shaver opened it to reveal a pellet gun and dead sparrow inside. Shaver told them he was on a business trip with Wal-Mart and “his job is to kill all of the birds that get inside the buildings,” according to the report.

Shaver then briefly pointed the pellet gun out the window.

When police found Shaver, they warned him that he “may not survive” if he did anything that could be considered a threat, the report says.

Officer Philip Brailsford Mesa PD

Officer Philip Brailsford, who executed an innocent, unarmed man as he begged for his life.

Brailsford’s body cam shows Shaver appeared to making small jerking motions while he had his hands behind his back, according to the report.An officer yelled at him, “If you do that again, we are shooting you. Do you understand?”

“No, please don’t shoot me,” Shaver said.

The footage shows Shaver complying with all other orders, including a demand to crawl toward the officers, as he is “audibly heard sobbing.”At one point, Shaver’s hand appeared to move toward his waist. An officer was heard yelling, “Don’t,” before Brailsford fired.

Shaver was not armed. His hand motion appeared to be him “attempting to pull his shorts up as they were falling off,” the report says.

It’s now quite obvious why the Mesa Police Department has so adamantly refused to release the body camera footage of Shaver’s murder by Brailsford and has even tried to have it formally sealed. The fact that Brailsford had “You’re Fucked” inscribed on the AR-15 he used to execute Shaver had already painted him as a callous and aggressive person. The video of an innocent, unarmed father of two and husband of a pregnant woman being killed as he crawled on his hands and knees crying and begging for his life takes that to a whole different level.

As I posted about last week, it’s been reported that Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery has offered Officer Brailsford a plea deal that would include him serving no jail time at all. That would obviously be a huge miscarriage of what the police like to call justice, especially in light of this new information.

Below is a video by Shaver’s widow, Laney Sweet, discussing that proposed plea deal and the details within the newly released police report.

(Donate to the GoFundMe account that has been set up for Daniel Shaver’s family.)

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Mesa AZ Police Officer Charged With Murder to Receive No Jail Time (Update)

Information for the following update was shared to the CopBlock Network by Phoenix resident Kelly Brown, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

This case involves the murder of Daniel Shaver, who had traveled to Arizona from Nashville on business, by Mesa Police Officer Philip Brailsford. Shaver was unarmed at the time he was shot five times by Brailsford as he crawled on his stomach in the hallway outside his hotel room at a local La Quinta Inn.

As has been previously described by Shaver’s widow, Laney Sweet:

Daniel was traveling for work in Mesa, Arizona. He makes this trip 2-3 times a month and frequently services pest removal stores there. He carries his work equipment: two pellet guns (one approved for flying and one that is not allowed due to an air compressor, I believe.) among other things like a pump, ect. with him on every trip. Due to how expensive his company’s pellet guns are, he takes his hard case into his hotel room every night.

Daniel had dinner with two individuals, a man and woman, in the evening at a local restaurant. They returned to the hotel and went to his room together. I spoke with him on the phone and he had also been online and playing a game with a friend. At some point, someone near the pool called the local police stating that they saw a man with a gun near the window of a 5th floor hotel room. Whether Daniel was the one holding it or he allowed the other man to view his equipment and look into the scope, we don’t know. The man left the room at some point, for what we think was a trip to the gas station. Shortly after, three police arrived to his hotel room and Daniel and the woman came to the door. When asked to step out of the room they both did without hesitation. We were told that Daniel was not aggressive but that he failed to listen when instructing to NOT put his hands behind his back. Due to him putting his hands behind his back, the Mesa, AZ police department took forceful action and shot him. Daniel passed away in the hallway of his hotel, unarmed.

Shaver’s shooting and the subsequent filing of second degree murder charges against Ofc. Brailsford were previously covered in posts by Severin Freeman, Joshua Scott Hotchkin, and Asa J.

Ofc. Philip Brailsford

Ofc. Philip Brailsford – Murderer on the loose.

In spite of Brailsford being charged with murder, it’s now being reported that he will be offered a plea deal that includes no jail time at all. As you can see in the video embedded below, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery is rather offended by the idea that somebody would criticize him for allowing a cop to walk without any jail time whatsoever after murdering an innocent, unarmed man and father of young two children, and whose widow is currently pregnant.

After all, he charged Brailsford with second degree murder (before offering him a plea bargain that completely invalidates that) and he can’t bring Shaver back to life, which would be the “perfect justice” in this case.

So, obviously, if they are going to “fall short” of that there’s no point in even bothering to punish in any sort of meaningful way a cop that unnecessarily murdered someone. How dare you insinuate otherwise.

Not surprisingly, Shaver’s wife is very angry about the deal, especially considering some of the indicators into Brailsford’s mindset that have come to light since the murder of her husband. (A GoFundMe account has been set up by Daniel Shaver’s family to help offset the costs associated with his burial and the lack of his income.)

Equally unsurprisingly, the Mesa Police Officer’s Union is enthusiastically backing Officer Brailsford.

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Jesus Arevalo, the LVMPD Cop Who Murdered Stanley Gibson, Ends Up in Jail (For 10 Days)

Jesus Arevalo LV Police Murder Stanley GibsonThe former Las Vegas cop, who in December of 2011 fired the shots that killed Gulf War vet Stanley Gibson as he sat unarmed in a car, has been sentenced to 10 days of jail for contempt of court by Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge Heidi Almase. This particular sentence is related to a subsequent charge in which Jesus Arevalo was found guilty of harassing his ex-wife and her new boyfriend. Arevalo was seen and heard by numerous witnesses making death threats against Steve Delao, who is now married to Arevalo’s former wife Catherine, in public at a church.

It’s not exactly clear what constituted that charge of contempt. However, one of the stipulations of his sentencing was that if he violated the protection order his wife has against him after his release he would have to serve the 179 day suspended sentence that he received from that conviction. This would imply that the contempt charge involves some sort of violation of that protection order.

stanley_gibson_shootingAt the time that Jesus Arevalo shot him, Stanley Gibson was not even suspected of being armed (as testified by other officers at the scene), was suffering from a panic attack precipitated by a mental illness and PTSD related to his wartime military service, and was merely sitting in a car that had been blocked in and completely immobilized by police vehicles (see video embedded below). He was incoherent, unresponsive and not in any way threatening or even capable of harming anyone. The police had responded to a suspected break in after Stanley became confused and went to the wrong apartment thinking it was where he lived after having just moved.

Arevalo was a problem cop with an extensive history of complaints and internal discipline, who should have been fired long before he got the opportunity to kill Stanley Gibson. Instead, he was moved from one unit to another and eventually put on the graveyard shift. According to his ex-wife, he had in fact stated that he wanted to kill someone in order to get paid time off, as well as making disparaging and racist comments about Gibson to her after the shooting. Arevalo is just one example of the LVMPD’s abysmal history of refusing and even actively working to prevent accountability for the criminals within their ranks.

Jesus Arevalo's Court Record

Jesus Arevalo’s Court Record

Although on paper he was punished by being fired, Jesus Arevalo was never held accountable or punished in any real way for the murder of Stanley Gibson. Instead, he was effectively rewarded for his deadly actions that day. First, he was given two years of paid vacation while his former coworkers at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department “investigated” the shooting. Then former Sheriff Gillespie dragged his feet long enough before “firing” Jesus Arevalo to allow him to put in for disability (for the stress of being called a murderer after he murderer someone).

He was approved for that disability just one month before his “firing” by the LVMPD. Among those on the board that approved his disability were Chris Collins, who at that time was the president of the LVPPA (the police union for departments within the Las Vegas area). Collins stated that he didn’t feel it was a conflict of interest because they “didn’t hang out together.” As part of his “disability,” Arevalo now receives just under $30,000 (plus future cost of living increases) per year for the rest of his life. Unlike Social Security disability, people receiving government disability are also not precluded from working, they are just not allowed to be employed in the same field. So, Arevalo will receive that $30k/year Killer’s Bonus on top of whatever he makes in another job.

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Why was Danielle Willard Murdered by Utah Police?

Danielle Willard, a small, unarmed young woman, was shot and killed Nov. 2, 2012 by West Valley, Ut. police

A rally will be held Saturday, December 1st at the West Valley Police station, which is located within the Salt Lake City area (see end of post for a map), to demand justice for Danielle Willard. Also, a second protest and candlelight vigil be held at the same location Sunday, December 16th. Danielle’s death and the many unanswered questions surrounding it have left her family, friends, and supporters frustrated, saddened and angry.

In addition, the handling of it all by local police has made many people not just in Utah, but all across the country, question how and why such a small, unarmed woman barely out of her teens with no known history of violent behavior ended up becoming the latest in a growing list of “collateral damage” from the government’s disastrous War on Drugs.

Almost a month ago, on Nov. 2, 2012, Danielle Willard was shot and killed by undercover police working for the West Valley, Utah police department. Apparently, she was killed during an attempted drug bust, although even that is a bit speculative at this point because police have yet to confirm much of anything about what happened that day.

“The family of a 21-year-old woman killed in an officer-involved shooting yesterday await answers in her death. So far, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the shooting at this apartment complex.

We still don’t know why officers shot and killed Danielle Willard. Her family says, she wasn’t a violent person but drugs may have been her downfall.

Willard’s mother, who lives in Vancouver, Washington, is anxious for information to come out.

“Everything that keeps going through my mind is speculation,” said Melissa Kennedy. “Did she get back on drugs? Was she really clean? Was it the wrong place at the wrong time?”

Willard was shot Friday and killed by undercover officers in the parking lot of an apartment complex in West Valley. Police used white sheets to cover her body from public view. Authorities aren’t saying what led to the shooting.”

Danielle Willard During “Brighter” Days

In fact, police have refused to even comment officially on such basic things as Danielle’s identity or even whether she is male or female. Purportedly, this silence is due to an ongoing investigation into the shooting and the events surrounding it. However, such rudimentary details have not only already been made public by Danielle’s family and friends, but are hardly something that would interfere with an investigation.

Those family and friends are understandably questioning that silence, especially since police normally have no problem releasing information that supports their officers’ version of events. Without any of that information, they are left to try and make sense of why police would need to kill Danielle, which is hard to reconcile with their own memories of her:

“Melissa Kennedy knows her daughter wasn’t perfect.

But she doesn’t understand what it is that her daughter did so wrong that prompted West Valley police to shoot and kill her…

‘…Danielle is a sweetheart. She’s got a big heart. She would give the clothes off her back for anybody. I used to get mad at her because she would use so much gas in our car because someone would want a ride home. She couldn’t tell them no,’ Kennedy said…

‘…She’s never been known to be a violent person. She’s 100 pounds soaking wet. She’s only 21 years old. She’s a tiny little thing. What could she possibly have done, other than having a gun, what could she have done to provoke them to shoot her?…I’ve never ever known her to keep a gun with her or anywhere around here,’ Kennedy said…

‘…Kayleen (Willard) said she admired her older sister.’I always wanted to be like her. She always inspired me, because she was always so happy. She always seemed to be the crowd pleaser. She always seemed to brighten up a room,’ Willard said. ‘She was an inspiration to me, she made me be the person I am today. She made me want to be a better person growing up. She will always be in my thoughts and my heart, and she’s in a better place right now and I’ll see her again some day.'”

In spite of the silent treatment from West Valley police, some details about that day have gotten out. As might be expected, those details don’t paint the undercover cops that killed Danielle in a very good light. Based on independent witnesses that have come forward and the limited admissions that detectives assigned to the case have made themselves several things have been established:

  • Danielle was not armed, nor were there any guns found within the vehicle where she was killed. (As confirmed by detectives)
  • Danielle was actually a passenger in her own vehicle and was attempting to seek cover by ducking down within the car at the time of the shooting.
  • It’s unlikely that Danielle was the target of the ill-fated drug bust. Whether she was in some way involved with drugs again or simply in the wrong place at the wrong time is unknown. However, even if she was that by itself would in no way justify her death.
  • An unidentified male, who fled the scene and was probably the one being targeted by the undercover cops, was driving the car. (Detectives Danielle’s mother spoke to actually denied that this person was present, which only raises more questions about why deadly force was necessary.)
  • According to the autopsy, Danielle was shot first in the cheek and then fatally in the top of her skull, which supports the witness accounts that she was ducking down at the time she was shot.

Demand Justice for Danielle Willard

The every day abuses and unintended negative consequences of the War on Drugs, as well as the selective nature of that war, should be enough to cause outrage at the unnecessary death of yet another person whose only real “crime” was an act which by itself only harms the person committing that act. No matter what your stance on drug use and its effect on those who become addicted, it should be apparent that the harm caused by drug prohibitions far outweigh any positive effects of such policies.

The bottom line is Danielle Willard should never have been killed in the first place and those who care about her deserve answers for why she was murdered in spite of being unarmed and, by all accounts, not acting in any aggressive manner at all. Unfortunately, police are in no hurry to provide those answers.

There are several ways that you can help seek justice for Danielle:

If you are in or have the ability to travel to West Valley, Ut., join those who will be there at the rallies to support them as they demand that justice in person. Other options to contribute from a distance include donating funds to offset funeral costs and the costs of traveling from Washington, where her family lives, to Utah. This is the link to do that via an online fundraiser. Yet another option is to call the West Valley Police Department at (801) 963-3300 or  (801) 965-5155 and let them know that you want justice for Danielle.




View West Valley Police Department 3600 Constitution Blvd in a larger map

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