After admitting to mistakenly killing Emantic “EJ” Bradford, Jr., following a mall shooting that left two other people injured in Alabama, the credibility of local law enforcement was lacking, to put it mildly. And now, to add insult to literal injury, it appeared that the Hoover Police Department was concealing both the name of the officer who fired the fatal shot as well as the accompanying body cam footage that was presumably rolling at the time of the shooting in the Riverside Galleria on Thanksgiving night.
Sign Up For Our Newsletter!
While an arrest for the actual suspect came Thursday, it wasn’t nearly enough solace for Bradford’s grieving family, which was never notified by police about the shooting and had to find out on social media. On top of that, police have consequently avoided meeting with local civil rights leaders over the hasty killing of a legally armed man in an open carry state. The response, or lack thereof, seemed to follow the standard recipe in the aftermath of other high-profile shootings of Black men.
“We sent a letter to the mayor and police chief of Hoover to request a meeting. But they haven’t given us a date,” Alabama NAACP President Benard Simelton told NewsOne during an interview Thursday. “It appears that they’re dragging their feet.”
Bradford, a 21-year-old member of the U.S Army who was legally armed and brandishing his gun to reportedly save lives in the mall shooting that was started by someone else, was shot on sight by apparently implicitly biased police accused of only seeing the color of his skin. It was immediately announced that Bradford was the mall shooter before police admitted its avoidable error when it was learned that Bradford’s gun had not been fired. Some witnesses said the 21-year-old veteran was helping others escape the shooting.
While Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato, Police Chief Nick Derzis and City Councilman Derrick Murphy — the only Black member of Hoover’s city council — met with Bradford’s family to “express their sincerest condolences and prayers to Mr. Bradford’s family on their loss,” the gesture appeared to be too little, too late, Simelton said.
“They have not been very respectful or considerate of what the family is going through,” Simelton said of Hoover leadership, adding that it took several days for city officials to sit down with Bradford’s family.
Authorities dragged Bradford’s good name through the mud before admitting their mistake, following the post-shooting script of other departments that have slandered dead victims of police shootings. Botham Jean was demonized by police for having a small amount of marijuana in his home even though he was unarmed when Amber Guyger illegally entered his home and killed him in Dallas in September. In suburban Chicago, police were refusing to release the name of the officer who killed Jemel Roberson, a legally armed security guard who was subduing a gunman when cops opened fire on him earlier this month.
The same thing was happening in Alabama with the killing of Bradford, whose mother April Pipkins said she called the local coroner’s office to confirm EJ’s death because police failed to contact the family. None of this would have happened if he was white, Pipkins told the Associated Press on Tuesday, the same day Simelton attended a prayer and justice meeting with Bradford’s family at the historic 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.
“EJ’s mom was overcome by emotion had to be taken by an ambulance to the hospital. EJ and his dad had a close relationship. This is happening while he’s battling cancer,” Simelton said. “It’s taken a toll on them. They are holding up the best they can.”
Like in Dallas, Hoover officials handed off the case to state investigators almost immediately, which allowed them to avoid answering key questions and releasing video evidence.
“I don’t think they had any intention of being transparent about what happened,” Simelton said.
Some activists have protested at the Riverchase Galleria mall where the shooting happened and called for a boycott to “shut down” Hoover, but Simelton said the NAACP wanted to take a different approach.
“The mall is not at fault,” he said. “This is about the Hoover police and the way they handled the whole situation. We want to put the blame squarely on them.”
He had a conference call Wednesday night with NAACP members who called for community meetings with the police to reach an understanding of each other.
“We know and respect the work they do, but as a citizen, you have a right to go and come without a police officer shooting you,” Simelton said, adding that the NAACP was also calling for Black folks to elect officials who understand and act on their interest.
Citing historical precedent, Simelton’s prediction for the case wasn’t remotely optimistic.
“I don’t have high confidence that anything will be done, in terms of punishment of the police officer or the police department,” he said. “I think they will use the excuse that the officer thought he fired at the right person.”
ALSO TRENDING ON GETUPERICA.COM:
- 7 Gospel Singers Who Went From Singing Background To Going Solo
- Watch Faith Evans Belt Out “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” At Kim Porter’s Funeral
- 12 Gospel Artists Who Are Also Pastors [PHOTOS]
64 Black Men And Boys Killed By Police
1. De'Von Bailey, 191 of 64
2. Eric Logan, 542 of 64
3. Jamarion Robinson, 263 of 64
4. Gregory Hill Jr., 304 of 64
5. JaQuavion Slaton, 205 of 64
6. Ryan Twyman, 246 of 64
7. Brandon Webber, 207 of 64
8. Jimmy Atchison, 218 of 64
9. Willie McCoy, 209 of 64
10. Emantic "EJ" Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 2110 of 64
11. D’ettrick Griffin, 1811 of 64
12. Jemel Roberson, 26Source:false 12 of 64
13. DeAndre Ballard, 23Source:false 13 of 64
14. Botham Shem Jean, 26Source:false 14 of 64
15. Robert Lawrence White, 41Source:false 15 of 64
16. Anthony Lamar Smith, 24Source:Getty 16 of 64
17. Ramarley Graham, 18Source:Getty 17 of 64
18. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31Source:Getty 18 of 64
19. Trayvon Martin, 17Source:Getty 19 of 64
20. Wendell Allen, 20Source:Getty 20 of 64
21. Kendrec McDade, 19Source:Getty 21 of 64
22. Larry Jackson Jr., 32Source:Getty 22 of 64
23. Jonathan Ferrell, 24Source:Getty 23 of 64
24. Jordan Baker, 26Source:Getty 24 of 64
25. Victor White lll, 22Source:Getty 25 of 64
26. Dontre Hamilton, 31Source:Getty 26 of 64
27. Eric Garner, 43Source:Getty 27 of 64
28. John Crawford lll, 22Source:Getty 28 of 64
29. Michael Brown, 18Source:Getty 29 of 64
30. Ezell Ford, 25Source:Getty 30 of 64
31. Dante Parker, 36Source:Getty 31 of 64
32. Kajieme Powell, 25Source:Getty 32 of 64
33. Laquan McDonald, 17Source:Getty 33 of 64
34. Akai Gurley, 28Source:Getty 34 of 64
35. Tamir Rice, 12Source:Getty 35 of 64
36. Rumain Brisbon, 34Source:Getty 36 of 64
37. Jerame Reid, 36Source:Getty 37 of 64
38. Charly Keunang, 43Source:Getty 38 of 64
39. Tony Robinson, 19Source:Getty 39 of 64
40. Walter Scott, 50Source:Getty 40 of 64
41. Freddie Gray, 25Source:Getty 41 of 64
42. Brendon Glenn, 29Source:Getty 42 of 64
43. Samuel DuBose, 43Source:Getty 43 of 64
44. Christian Taylor, 19Source:Getty 44 of 64
45. Jamar Clark, 24Source:Getty 45 of 64
46. Mario Woods, 26Source:Getty 46 of 64
47. Quintonio LeGrier, 19Source:Getty 47 of 64
48. Gregory Gunn, 58Source:Getty 48 of 64
49. Akiel Denkins, 24Source:Getty 49 of 64
50. Alton Sterling, 37Source:Getty 50 of 64
51. Philando Castile, 32Source:Getty 51 of 64
52. Terrence Sterling, 31Source:Getty 52 of 64
53. Terence Crutcher, 40Source:Getty 53 of 64
54. Keith Lamont Scott, 43Source:Getty 54 of 64
55. Alfred Olango, 38Source:Getty 55 of 64
56. Jordan Edwards, 15Source:Getty 56 of 64
57. Stephon Clark, 22Source:false 57 of 64
58. Danny Ray Thomas, 34Source:false 58 of 64
59. DeJuan Guillory, 27Source:false 59 of 64
60. Patrick Harmon, 5060 of 64
61. Jonathan Hart, 2161 of 64
62. Maurice Granton, 2462 of 64
63. Julius Johnson, 2363 of 64
Alabama Police Who Killed EJ Bradford Jr. Aren’t Being Transparent At All, NAACP Says was originally published on newsone.com