Thinking of getting an inscription or engraving on your firearms? One of the first questions that many gun owners often ask is if these inscriptions could be used as evidence against their character in court. Since many people purchase firearms primarily to protect themselves, this can be a big concern—and as one case in Arizona shows, those inscriptions can certainly be used against you.
Mesa police officer Phillip Brailsford is currently charged with the second-degree murder of Daniel Shaver, who was involved in an on-duty shooting earlier this year. According to Tuscon News Now, the shooting happened in a hotel room after police received a call about an armed man on the fifth floor of the La Quinta Inn. Prosecutors say that the weapon was actually a pellet gun used by Shaver for his pest control job. Officers found Shaver at the inn and ordered him onto his belly, during which he reached for his waistband and Brailsford shot him five times. The shooting was recorded on a body camera worn by the responding officers.
In court on Tuesday, Brailsford pleaded not guilty to the charges, but a new piece of evidence may may hinder his defense. A police investigation following the shooting turned up a service rifle used by Brailsford that had a inscription on the inside of the rifle’s dust cover. Officials say that Brailsford personally purchased the rifle and used it for police duties. It is believed to have been the weapon used to kill Shaver.
“Inscripted on the officer’s gun, and I hate to use profanity, but it said, “you’re f*****,”’ Laney Sweet, Daniel Shaver’s wife, said.
Sweet’s lawyer argued that the inscription implied that Brailsford “was enthusiastic” about using the rifle to kill people.
“He executed Daniel Shaver. He murdered an innocent man,”attorney Marc Victor told KPNX. “The victim wants Officer Brailsford treated like everyone else.”
The Mesa Police Department said in a statement that the inscription was against the department’s policy and that an investigation is underway. Mesa Police Chief John Meza also expressed his concerns over the situation and recommended that Brailsford be fired from the department. This is in direct opposition to a previous statement by Brailsford where he said Chief Meza supported him and agreed that the shooting was justified. Brailsford, who is the son of a veteran police officer that once served in the same department, said he was shocked by the charges.
“It’s just a really tragic situation,” the officer’s lawyer, Craig Mehrens, told The Arizona Republic. “my client is not guilty.”
You can watch a short interview with Sweet and her lawyer below:
Image courtesy Votesmall Image courtesy Votesmall