While Bradford had drawn his weapon to stop the shooter during the infamous mall shooting that took place last Thanksgiving, police had shot Bradford instead of the real culprit
A month ago, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall announced the Hoover police officer who fatally shot Emantic “E.J.” Bradford Jr. wouldn’t face charges. While it has caused a massive outrage in the black community which has been witnessing a lot of police officers getting off without charges for fatally shooting black men, Bradford family sued the AG and Hoover Police Department.
EJ Bradford’s Family Sues Alabama For Withholding Key Evidence https://t.co/QEVevAl7Tq— @pyramidfire (@pyramidfire) 12 March 2019
According to Al.com, the family file a lawsuit in the Birmingham division of Jefferson County on Monday. Among the people who were present at the time were - Bradford’s parents and their attorney Benjamin Crump, the ACLU of Alabama, and the Alabama NAACP.
The lawsuit specifically demands that the department release all the police body camera and surveillance footage of the incident, and of documents including the officers’ names.
In the words of our Board President @fonteneau re #EJBradford: "We sued because the principles of openness that prevent our government from trampling the rights of its citizens require us to press the issue." #JusticeforEJ #BlackLivesMatterhttps://t.co/n7ZuHbnQFJ— ACLU of Alabama (@ACLUAlabama) 12 March 2019
The 21-year-old Emantic "EJ" Bradford, Jr. was at a mall, with his licensed weapon. Suddenly, gunfire had erupted in the mall - outside Foot Action. When the shooting had ended, Brian Wilson, 18, and 12-year-old innocent bystander Molly Davis, were both injured. It would be found later that a man named Erron Brown was the one who had opened fire.
According to the reports, two Hoover police officers were just a few feet away from the incident, and they approached to respond.
When they arrived at the scene, they fatally shot and killed Bradford - who had drawn his weapon to stop the shooter. While Erron Brown lived and was charged later on with injuring the two people at the mall.
While there was a clear misjudgment from the side of the police department, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall announced has announced in February that the officer responsible for the shooting will not be charged.
Marshall had concluded that officer did not break the law and will not be charged in the death. Bradford's death sparked weeks of protests.
Hoover police have not released the officer’s name and his attorney told AL.com neither he nor the officer will be releasing any statement about the shooting.
Marshall’s options were to clear the officer, charge the officer, or send the case to a grand jury for indictment consideration. The investigation was led by the State Bureau of Investigation and involved witness reports, cell phone videos taken by shoppers, mall surveillance video, body cam video, text messages, and social media posts.
BREAKING: We’re suing the AG of Alabama and Hoover PD over their refusal to release bodycam footage and the name of the officer who killed E.J. Bradford.— ACLU (@ACLU) 11 March 2019
When a gunman opened fire at a mall, E.J. tried to save lives. Police killed him. https://t.co/dalOBJj4XC
According to the lawsuit, Marshall responded to the public records request saying he would not turn over the information requested. A press release by the ACLU said Marshall “asserted, among other reasons, that disclosing any information would ‘negatively impact…the personal safety of law enforcement officials.’”
The lawsuit said Hoover police also declined to make those records public.
The lawsuit claims: “After the officer shot Mr. Bradford, he and one or more other officers approached Mr. Bradford’s body. At or near Mr. Bradford’s body, two or more officers then made a fist-bump gesture. On information and belief, they did not attempt to render first aid to Mr. Bradford before making this celebratory gesture.”
The complaint also states, “In the wake of the police killing of E.J. Bradford, which has amplified the fear and mistrust that many black and brown Alabamians feel toward the police, such transparency and accountability is especially important.”
This is the same suburb where EJ Bradford was murdered by police at the Riverchase Mall, the day after Thanksgiving.— Adele Culp (@AdeleCulp) 5 March 2019
Crump said in a press release, “It’s ludicrous and insulting that the state of Alabama thinks we should simply take their word about what happened, without letting us see the full and unedited video footage and without releasing the officer’s name…In a state with the racial history of Alabama, why would anyone believe their account of a white officer shooting a Black man, especially when they’re trying to hide some of the evidence?”
ACLU of Alabama Executive Director Randall Marshall said Bradford’s family and the people of Alabama “deserve transparency and accountability.” He said in the same release, “It’s repugnant that Attorney General Marshall is hiding behind unfounded claims that transparency would endanger law enforcement when refusing to disclose the footage and documents we requested.”