In Video, Granbury Man Died Because He Failed Arizona Police Sergeant's Bizarre “Simon Says” Test

The more times I see Danny Shaver die, the sicker I get. I long for the police body-cam video showing the young Granbury man's 2016 shooting by police in Mesa, Ariz., to have a different ending. In this other ending, police would be wary, naturally: After all, they had been called to a suburban motel to investigate reports of a man wielding a gun in one of the guest room windows. It turned out to be a pellet rifle Shaver used in his pest-control business, which he was showing to an acquaintance. Shaver, a 26-year-old father of two young daughters, regularly traveled from Texas to Arizona on business. He had been chatting with a couple of other motel guests over a drink in his room when witnesses outside saw him holding the weapon; it was a better-safe-than-sorry police check over what turned out to be a blameless incident. The police could not know that, of course. So in this different ending, they might reasonably have made him come out of his room, lie on the floor, and maybe endure being handcuffed until officers located the pellet gun, by then securely returned to its case. Shaver, frightened and confused, would only have had to hold still until the cops sorted out what was going on. Instead, as the video records, the sergeant in command began shouting a rapid-fire series of threatening and sometimes contradictory commands: hands up, hands behind your head, hands out flat, cross your legs, crawl, shut up, and - frighteningly, "If you make a mistake ... there's a possibility you're going to get shot." Not "If you move" or "If you reach for a weapon." It's like a macabre twist on the childhood game "Simon Says," except that in this game, if you trip up over what Simon says, you die. It's agonizing to watch. On the video, Shaver is clearly terrified almost beyond reason, apologizing, sobbing, begging the police not to shoot him. He clearly tries to follow the sergeant's unhinged instructions to the letter - until he reaches slightly to the right and back, perhaps to pull up his baggy shorts, which have been yanked back as he crawls. A police officer fires five rapid shots. Shaver lost the game. He flunked the test. He made a mistake and, good as their word, they shot him dead.   Continue reading...

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