The attorney for a Mesa police officer accused of using undue force when he fatally shot an unarmed man at a hotel said the officer is “in shock” that he’s facing a second-degree murder charge.

Criminal defense attorney Craig Mehrens said the announcement of charges by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office on Friday blindsided his client, Officer Philip “Mitch” Brailsford, who Mehrens said had been told by superiors that his actions were justifiable.

Mehrens told The Arizona Republic on Saturday that Mesa Police Chief John Meza personally told Brailsford within days of the fatal incident that it was a justifiable shooting after watching body-camera footage.

“He said he did nothing wrong,” Mehrens said. “There’s no question he (Meza) looked at the video and said it was fine.”

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