PHOENIX (AP) — A New Mexico woman who was with an unarmed Texas man before he was fatally shot by an Arizona police officer in 2016 has filed a lawsuit against the former officer and the police department.
Monique Portillo filed the suit in federal court last week against the Mesa Police Department, seven unidentified officers and former Officer Philip Mitchell Brailsford.
The Albuquerque resident is seeking punitive damages and lawyer fees, claiming she was unlawfully detained for hours and made to watch the death of 26-year-old Daniel Shaver in a hotel in the Phoenix suburb.
Officers went to the hotel in response to a report of a man with a gun in January 2016. Brailsford fired upon Shaver while he was crawling toward officers as ordered.
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Brailsford testified in court that Shaver appeared to be reaching for a gun. A jury found Brailsford not guilty of second-degree murder last month.
Body-camera footage of the encounter was made public following Brailsford’s trial.
Michael Piccarreta, the attorney who represented Brailsford at trial, told The Arizona Republic that Portillo’s suit has “all the earmarks of a frivolous, last-minute filing that will not go anywhere.”
The Mesa Police Department declined to comment on the suit as the litigation is pending.
The department fired Brailsford in March 2016 for violating policy.
Albuquerque attorney Gene Chavez is representing Portillo. The newspaper couldn’t reach Chavez by phone.
Laney Sweet, the widow of the Granbury, Texas, man, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Mesa last year.