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.
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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.”
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83 Black Men And Boys Killed By Police
1. David McAtee1 of 83
2. Natosha “Tony” McDade2 of 83
3. George Floyd3 of 83
4. Yassin Mohamed4 of 83
5. Finan H. Berhe5 of 83
6. Sean ReedSource:Twitter 6 of 83
7. Steven Demarco TaylorSource:S. Lee Merritt 7 of 83
8. Ariane McCreeSource:The Herald/YouTube 8 of 83
9. Terrance Franklin9 of 83
10. Miles HallSource:KRON4 10 of 83
11. Darius TarverSource:S. Lee Merritt 11 of 83
12. William Green12 of 83
13. Samuel David Mallard, 1913 of 83
14. Kwame "KK" Jones, 17Source:facebook 14 of 83
15. De’von Bailey, 1915 of 83
16. Christopher Whitfield, 3116 of 83
17. Anthony Hill, 2617 of 83
18. De'Von Bailey, 1918 of 83
19. Eric Logan, 5419 of 83
20. Jamarion Robinson, 2620 of 83
21. Gregory Hill Jr., 3021 of 83
22. JaQuavion Slaton, 2022 of 83
23. Ryan Twyman, 2423 of 83
24. Brandon Webber, 2024 of 83
25. Jimmy Atchison, 2125 of 83
26. Willie McCoy, 2026 of 83
27. Emantic "EJ" Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 2127 of 83
28. D’ettrick Griffin, 1828 of 83
29. Jemel Roberson, 26Source:false 29 of 83
30. DeAndre Ballard, 23Source:false 30 of 83
31. Botham Shem Jean, 26Source:false 31 of 83
32. Robert Lawrence White, 41Source:false 32 of 83
33. Anthony Lamar Smith, 24Source:Getty 33 of 83
34. Ramarley Graham, 18Source:Getty 34 of 83
35. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31Source:Getty 35 of 83
36. Trayvon Martin, 17Source:Getty 36 of 83
37. Wendell Allen, 20Source:Getty 37 of 83
38. Kendrec McDade, 19Source:Getty 38 of 83
39. Larry Jackson Jr., 32Source:Getty 39 of 83
40. Jonathan Ferrell, 24Source:Getty 40 of 83
41. Jordan Baker, 26Source:Getty 41 of 83
42. Victor White lll, 22Source:Getty 42 of 83
43. Dontre Hamilton, 31Source:Getty 43 of 83
44. Eric Garner, 43Source:Getty 44 of 83
45. John Crawford lll, 22Source:Getty 45 of 83
46. Michael Brown, 18Source:Getty 46 of 83
47. Ezell Ford, 25Source:Getty 47 of 83
48. Dante Parker, 36Source:Getty 48 of 83
49. Kajieme Powell, 25Source:Getty 49 of 83
50. Laquan McDonald, 17Source:Getty 50 of 83
51. Akai Gurley, 28Source:Getty 51 of 83
52. Tamir Rice, 12Source:Getty 52 of 83
53. Rumain Brisbon, 34Source:Getty 53 of 83
54. Jerame Reid, 36Source:Getty 54 of 83
55. Charly Keunang, 43Source:Getty 55 of 83
56. Tony Robinson, 19Source:Getty 56 of 83
57. Walter Scott, 50Source:Getty 57 of 83
58. Freddie Gray, 25Source:Getty 58 of 83
59. Brendon Glenn, 29Source:Getty 59 of 83
60. Samuel DuBose, 43Source:Getty 60 of 83
61. Christian Taylor, 19Source:Getty 61 of 83
62. Jamar Clark, 24Source:Getty 62 of 83
63. Mario Woods, 26Source:Getty 63 of 83
64. Quintonio LeGrier, 19Source:Getty 64 of 83
65. Gregory Gunn, 58Source:Getty 65 of 83
66. Akiel Denkins, 24Source:Getty 66 of 83
67. Alton Sterling, 37Source:Getty 67 of 83
68. Philando Castile, 32Source:Getty 68 of 83
69. Terrence Sterling, 31Source:Getty 69 of 83
70. Terence Crutcher, 40Source:Getty 70 of 83
71. Keith Lamont Scott, 43Source:Getty 71 of 83
72. Alfred Olango, 38Source:Getty 72 of 83
73. Jordan Edwards, 15Source:Getty 73 of 83
74. Stephon Clark, 22Source:false 74 of 83
75. Danny Ray Thomas, 34Source:false 75 of 83
76. DeJuan Guillory, 27Source:false 76 of 83
77. Patrick Harmon, 5077 of 83
78. Jonathan Hart, 2178 of 83
79. Maurice Granton, 2479 of 83
80. Julius Johnson, 2380 of 83
81. Jamee Johnson, 22Source:S. Lee Merritt 81 of 83
82. Michael Dean, 28Source:S. Lee Merritt 82 of 83
Alabama Police Who Killed EJ Bradford Jr. Aren’t Being Transparent At All, NAACP Says was originally published on newsone.com