Saturday, May 18, 2024

EJ Bradford Jr. Shot in the Back by Cop at Mall; Father Calls it ‘Cowardice’

*The shooting of an Army veteran by a police officer at an Alabama mall is still making news. We’ve now learned that a private autopsy of Emantic “EJ” Bradford, Jr., 21, revealed that he was shot three times from behind, according to one of the attorneys representing his family. That news prompted Bradford’s family to renew demands for charges against the officer, whose identity has been kept secret since the shooting on Thanksgiving night.

“My son was murdered by this officer,” Emantic Bradford, Sr., said in no uncertain terms during a press conference in Birmingham. “That ain’t training. That’s cowardice.”

Bradford was killed in the aftermath of a mall shooting in the town of Hoover near Birmingham when an officer reportedly fired on sight, fatally striking him. Authorities immediately announced Bradford was the mall shooter before realizing their error.

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Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr
Emantic ‘EJ’ Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. (Via Facebook)

The autopsy showed that Bradford was all but executed: He was shot once in the head and once in the neck — both from behind — and once in the back.

“There is a laceration of the right side of the face at the eyebrow consistent with falling face forward on the right side of the head. The cause of death is gunshot wound of the head. The manner of death is homicide,” Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney representing Bradford’s family, said.

When he was killed, Bradford was reportedly brandishing a gun that he was licensed to carry and was helping others to escape the shooting. It turned out that Bradford’s gun was not fired. The arrest of the actual suspect came Thursday, one week after Bradford was killed.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson issued a call for justice, including identifying the police officer and releasing any bodycam video footage, during a eulogy at Bradford’s funeral Saturday.

“We will have the tape made public. We want transparency, not coverup. Tell the whole story, tell it now. We want justice now. We want fairness now,” the civil rights leader said.

Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis reiterated on Monday – before Crump’s press conference – that city officials will not release video footage of the shooting or identify the officer involved because the case was turned over to state investigators who will make decisions about releasing information.

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