I have been encouraged to start a new GFM account to raise money for the immediate needs of my family.
I am Laney Sweet, the wife, and widow of Daniel Shaver. For the last four years, I have put up a continuous fight against the City of Mesa and Mesa Police Department to get justice for the killing of my husband.
Two years ago, we took ex-officer Philip Mitch Brailsford to trial on the charges of Second Degree Murder. He was acquitted--and the Department of Justice immediately contacted my family to meet in person and they took up an investigation. This investigation is still open and on-going. We are hopeful that they will be coming down with indictments or a mass overhaul of the corrupt Mesa PD very soon.
Last year, I learned that despite Mesa PD having previously fired Brailsford, they re-hired him so he could qualify for "medical retirement" to get disability payments. He claims to have PTSD from killing my husband and the stress of the trial. He gets $2,569.21 every month for murdering my husband. He will receive this pension and benefits for the rest of his life. At $30,830.52 a year, he's looking at receiving $1,109,898.72 if he lives to the retirement age of 66 years old. Over a million dollars. Read about that here: https://www.abc15.com/news/local-news/investigations/after-murder-acquittal-mesa-ex-cop-philip-brailsford-made-a-pension-deal The man who had "You're Fucked" on his AR-15 he used to shoot and kill my husband with, is going to walk away with over a million dollars. You can't even make this stuff up!
Meanwhile, the civil case is at a standstill. Brailsford filed bankruptcy, WHICH THE CITY OF MESA PAID FOR HIS PERSONAL ATTORNEY, as a tactic to remove him from the civil case and put everything on hold. We took depositions a few months ago and all officers, claiming they are under a DOJ investigation, invoked their 5th amendment privilege and did not answer our questions. I had to answer everything under the sun, which resulted in me having to inform Mesa that I have been borrowing money from my attorney every month to stay afloat.
They took this issue to the judge, stating that it violates AZ's ethical laws. My attorney, out of CA, is now facing the issue being taken to the bar, and has ceased all payments.
This leaves my daughters and I in a difficult financial situation, and this is exactly what the city of Mesa wants. They were supposedly wanting to settle the case out of court, but I know this needs to be taken to trial. Unfortunately, it could be another year or two before we get to a trial. I do not want to settle this case because we have to. I have been encouraged to attempt to raise the money we'll need to ride this out. They want us to agree to a small settlement, so I release our claims, and the truth of what happened that night is never made public.
Asking for money feels wrong, but I am reminded time and time again that we have so much public support BECAUSE I AM FIGHTING FOR TRUTH, ACCOUNTABILITY AND JUSTICE. Mesa PD and the city need to be held accountable. The taxpayers and citizens voting need to know where their money is going, behind closed doors.
Asking for help is difficult. I don't feel it is anyone's responsibility besides Mesa and myself, to take care of my children and to make sure we have a roof over our head. I had just announced a few weeks ago I am in the process of getting my business started back up (The Birthing Tree) but now that is on hold, as I have to find an immediate way to bring in income. I am also in school, slowly but surely working towards a nursing degree so I can provide for my children and not having to depend on the outcome of this case.
My girls are my world. They have both been changed to their core over losing their dad, and the on-going stress they are exposed to from this court case hanging over my shoulders. Natalie and Emery are such bright lights in this world and I never want them to look back and ask me, "Why didn't you try harder?" Girls, I am trying. SO hard. To ensure we get the justice your daddy deserves. I fight every single day, for you two and for him. Our family doesn't deserve this and I wish there was a way it could be undone. I would give anything to have my husband back and to resume our old lives. Through this, though, we are much stronger. All three of us will do everything we can to support those who know loss and injustice. These girls will change the world one day.
I have set our goal amount at the exact amount of money Brailsford is recieving for "disability" every single month, totaled up to one year. While it will take a lot more to get us to trial, i'm going to start here. Help me hold Mesa accountable. Please share, comment, raise awareness, organize a rally, attend our court hearings, or donate if you can.
We are a few months away from getting a ruling back from the 9th circuit, where we might potentially have CASE LAW established, to help future victims of excessive use of force. Please see the attached video to watch the arguments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZg0SGMJZOo
Thank you for supporting my family. Thank you for allowing me the time and space, to speak my truth and fight relentlessly for accountability. We are so humbled by the support, without it this process would have been even more lonely and difficult.
When WE, and yes I mean YOU too, win this case, it will be for all the victims of police brutality that never saw justice. It will be for Daniel Shaver, his children and every single one of us that have watched this video and knows there is something terribly wrong with the militarization of police in this country. This case is about justice for the people, holding corrupt police officers accountable and rising up in solidarity with victims fighting an extremely tough and lonely battle.
We can do this, together. For Daniel Shaver. For his children. And for all future victims at the hands of Mesa Police Department.
Let's show them how it's done.
A picture of me and my husband, on what should have been his 30th birthday this last December.
THE VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBUUx0jUKxc&has_verified=1&bpctr=1584123362