By Hollis Wormsby, Jr.
Those of you who are fans of Millie Jackson, will recognize this week’s headline as one of her classic songs. The song in question was her offering of what she knew would be an unpopular theory on the behavior of some folks receiving government benefits. I feel that way this week on another subject based on some comments I’ve seen on Facebook. I am fairly sure my words will not be well received, but as someone who has spent 30 years offering social commentary, I believe it needs to be said.
Since the day of the tragic shooting in the Riverchase Galleria Mall in Hoover, there has been much discussion regarding police conduct and attitudes played in the tragic shooting death of Emantic “E.J.” Bradford Jr. by a Hoover police officer. If you listen to most discussions, the behavior of the police is all that takes place and I do believe there needs to be discussion of why black males are shot so quickly by police.
The need for review of police behavior does not address all of the issues that led to the tragedy. I have not and will not look at video of the shooting, but I have read most of the reports and there are behaviors involved in this incident that we see on a daily basis in the City of Birmingham and why we see over a hundred homicides, mostly black on black crime, that take place in the city every year.
In reviewing the state attorney general’s report and looking at the stories that have been written about this event it seems that all of the young men involved in the initial confrontation at the Galleria had been in some kind of beef leading up to the incident and appeared to meet at the Galleria. It appears that at least two decided to bring a firearm. We see these types of confrontations all over Birmingham on what seems like a daily basis.
We must address this type of behavior with the same righteous indignation that we use when we believe police misconduct is involved in a shooting. The sad truth, in my opinion, is poor police judgment along with unacceptable behavior by the youth contributed to the untimely death of the young man. At least that’s the way I see it.
(Hollis Wormsby has served as a featured columnist for the Birmingham Times for more than 29 years. He is the former host of Talkback on 98.7 KISS FM and of Real Talk on WAGG AM. If you would like to comment on this column you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org)