Times staff report
The lawyer for the family of a 21-year-old black man shot and killed by Hoover police on Thanksgiving night said it was “beyond comprehension” that the Alabama Attorney General concluded that the officer was justified.
National civil rights attorney Ben Crump said Attorney General Steve Marshall is doing everything he can “to exonerate the officer’s inexcusable actions, trying to justify the officer’s failure to follow proper procedures – and, more importantly, to ignore the civil rights of an innocent, law-abiding man who happened to be black.”
Marshall on Tuesday informed the Hoover Police Department and the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation that the police officer who shot and killed Emantic “E.J.” Bradford Jr. at the Riverchase Galleria mall on November 22, 2018 was justified.
Marshall said the officer will not be criminally charged for his actions and he noted that the that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had reviewed the matter and found no evidence to initiate a case against the officer for civil rights violations.
Crump, the Bradford family, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and local activists reacted strongly to the AG’s report.
“It is outrageous and beyond comprehension that the Alabama Attorney General has concluded that it was reasonable for a trained law enforcement officer to fatally shoot an innocent civilian, one whose only action was an attempt to help protect the public and whose only ‘crime’ was being black,” Crump said.
Crump called for the full, unedited video of the shooting to be released.
“Until the full video has been released to the public, everyone is subject to the editing bias that the Attorney General’s Office chose to apply in preparing its report,” he said. “The decision to evade a grand jury mimics the darkest patterns of injustice woven throughout Alabama’s sad history of race relations.”
April Pipkins, mother of Bradford, Jr., asked Marshall how he would feel if his child was the one killed three months ago.
“I want to know if that was your child would you consider this ‘justice’?” Pipkins asked. “Would anybody consider this ‘justice’? You shoot my child three times and y’all call that ‘justice’? You put yourself in this situation and tell me how you would feel because as a mother who carried this child in her stomach…I wanna know how you would feel? I just wanna know how you would feel if this was your child?”
Emantic Bradford Sr., visibly angered and upset, said his son was “murdered in Alabama, in Hoover, nothing being done . . . it ain’t over with, it aint over with at all cause I’m telling you right now, the bottom line, I’m going to have my justice for my child.”
Dillon Nettles, ACLU of Alabama Policy Analyst, said in a statement, “Police officers need to be held accountable when they shoot and kill innocent people. The deaths of people like Bradford are a constant reminder of the threat people of color face in a country where black men are three times more likely to be killed by police than white men.”
Crump said the case has been riddled with “dubious actions” by officials since the shooting.
“In December, the Attorney General took this case away from Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr, the first black person to hold that position, undermining the trust of our community and further proving why we demand transparency from those in power,” Crump said. “Attorney General Marshall has allowed the murder of [Bradford, Jr.] to escape justice without being held accountable one iota…he didn’t even give it to a grand jury and he had the audacity to say that the video does not tell the whole story.
“Well the video does tell the whole story, when you look at this video you look and see all the lies that have been told about EJ Bradford,” Crump said. “The fact EJ did not stand over anybody, that was a lie. EJ did not shoot anybody, they tried to say he pointed a gun at people. All of that is a lie. The video tells the whole story.”