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Hoover mall shooter still at large

Brandon Moseley

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Thursday night a scuffle broke out over a pair of sale price shoes at the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover. That quickly escalated into a fight and someone pulled a firearm and began firing. An 18 year male was shot and is still recovering in the UAB Hospital Trauma Center. A twelve year old girl was also hit. She was shopping with her grandmother and was not involved in the fight in any way. She was hit in the back and is recovering at Children’s Hospital. The Hoover Police Department rushed to the chaotic scene. An officer shot and killed a 21 year old Black man from Hueytown who was running from the scene while holding a handgun,Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr.

On Friday, the Hoover Police Department announced that Bradford was the shooter. Late that afternoon they retracted that statement when Alabama Bureau of Investigation investigators determined that the bullets that surgeons dug out of the 18 year old victim could not have come from Bradford’s gun.

Many civil rights activists have denounced the Hoover Police Department as being trigger happy and too eager to shoot a Black man.

The Alabama NAACP issued this statement on the Thanksgiving Day Galleria mall shooting.

“An African American male was shot and killed by Hoover Police at the Galleria Mall in Hoover, AL on Thanksgiving Day,” said Alabama NAACP President Bernard Simelton. “Not only was an African American male shot and killed in response to an altercation and gunfire, but the wrong man was shot and killed. According to news reports, the Army soldier who was killed, was running as well as other shoppers in the mall, away from shots being fired. We have learned that many shoppers also drew their weapons in response to the shots being fired. But this one black male was the only one shot and killed by police.”

“The Alabama State Conference of the NAACP is calling on our legislators to create legislation to end excessive force against black and brown people,” Simelton said. “We have learned that the police officer has been placed on administrative leave, but real and lasting consequences need to be taken against police officers who use excessive force. The Alabama NAACP believes those officers should be immediately removed and never allowed employment with any police force or establishment where using a gun is a requirement.”
“Police officers must know the facts involved before pulling their weapons,” Simelton said. “Police officers must stop being trigger happy when it comes to our children. Police officers must stop being aggressive with young men of color and stop killing us. Police officers must use human rights tactics to engage who they believe is the perpetrator. A life has been lost because police do not see African Americans as humans.”

The slaying of Bradford by the Hoover police has drawn national headlines.

While acknowledging that Bradford was not the person who shot the 18 year old, the Hoover Police Department still contend that he was not an innocent victim either.

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“New evidence now suggests that while Mr. Bradford may have been involved in some aspect of the altercation, he likely did not fire the rounds that injured the 18-year-old victim,” the police department said in a statement. “This information indicates that there is at least one gunman still at large. … We regret that our initial media release was not totally accurate, but new evidence indicates that it was not.”

Bradford’s family are demanding to see the security video. They have retained famed civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who represented the families of Mike Brown in Missouri and Trayvon Martin in Florida.

As of press time, the actual gunman remains at large.

An earlier version of this story identified Bradford as a U.S. Army soldier; because Bradford posted pictures of himself in uniform.  The Army however says that Bradford was honorably discharged after not completing training.

(Original reporting by U.S. News and World Report, Washington Post, the Alabama Media Group, and WVTM TV Channel 13 News contributed to this report.)

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Moody police officer shot and killed in the line of duty

Brandon Moseley

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Moody Police Sergeant Stephen Williams was shot and killed Tuesday in the line of duty at the Super 8 Motel on Highway 411, multiple news outlets have reported.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statement in response to the officer’s death.

“I am deeply saddened to hear Sergeant Stephen Williams was killed in the line of duty last night,” Ivey said. “He served the Moody Police Department with distinction and had a long, honorable career in law enforcement. In the end, he died a hero, fulfilling the oath he swore to do — to uphold the community he served.”

“Beyond his career in law enforcement, he was a father, and now, three children are left without their dad,” Ivey said. “We must not forget Sgt. Williams’ ultimate sacrifice was that of his family. This senseless violence must end. Every day, brave men and women who wear the badge put their lives on the line in order to keep us safe. We are greatly indebted for his service on our behalf. I ask the people of Alabama to join me in prayer for his family, friends and his brothers in arms.”

U.S. Attorney Jay Town also issued a statement.

“Moody Police Sergeant Stephen Williams’ end of watch has come much too soon,” Town said. “Our condolences and prayers are with his family, friends, and fellow officers. His loss is a loss for all of Alabama. This serves as yet another heartbreaking and stark reminder of the perils encountered by law enforcement each day.”

Moody Police Chief Thomas Hunt said Williams made the rank of sergeant last year.

“He was awesome. He was awesome — just a good man, good person, funny to be around, won officer of the year award a couple years ago,” Hunt said. “Very thorough in his paperwork, very thorough as a sergeant, good teacher and a good mentor. Lot of guys looked up to Stephen. He was a very good close friend.”

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Two suspects, a male and a female, are in custody.

Williams’ death is being investigated by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and the St. Clair County Sheriffs Department.

Williams served three years with the St. Clair County town, but he had 23 previous years of service in law enforcement with Bessemer and Calera. He is survived by a wife and three children.

Williams was shot multiple times. No motive for the slaying has been released by police at this time.

Williams is the second Moody police officer killed in the line of duty. Officer Keith Turner was murdered in the line of duty by escaped Mississippi prisoner Mario Centobie in 1998. Centobie was executed for the crime.

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Bill Britt

Opinion | With liberty and justice for all

Bill Britt

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Photo: Rosa Pineda

As peaceful protests over the last week have been marred by violence and looting, the nation should be asking what kind of country we are and what we are to become?

Are we to be the shining city on a hill or a lord of the flies kingdom of warring factions?

Most of the protesters who have taken to the streets across the nation are only asking for those things promised in The Declaration of Independence and quoted in the nation’s Pledge of Allegiance.

They want the promise of “all men are created equal,” with “liberty and justice for all,” to be fulfilled.

Amidst the chaos, we hear calls for “law and order” and chants of “No justice, no peace.”

A nation can have law and order without justice, but when justice is denied or meted out unequally, people will only remain silent or peaceful for so long.

Law, justice, and peace should flow from the same fountain but rarely ever do in equal measure.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Gandhi before him, showed the world the power of nonviolent resistance. From the Salt March, which took place from March to April 1930, in India, to the Selma-to-Montgomery March in 1965, a small band of individuals has shown that peaceful protests can overcome even institutional wrongs.

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But laws passed in the 1960s, while changing what was legal, didn’t answer inequities or alter everyone’s hearts and minds.

Even today, the dog whistles of racism and bullhorns of hate compete against calls for change.

Only when bigotry is shown in bright relief against the suffering of a nation’s citizens, do the powerful lose their stranglehold.

The murder of George Floyd is further evidence of a long-festering problem, and the ensuing rage is simply the manifestation of years of systematic mistreatment of black citizens. The laws may have changed in the 1960s, but the mindset of those who fought against that progress has been reborn.

As a nation, we cannot stand with a Bible in one hand and a club in the other and claim equal protection under the law.

Perhaps opening the Scriptures and letting the voice of Jesus speak, rather than holding his words as a prop, would be a good first step. Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Are these not the values we should hold dear?

I do not condone violence or property destruction, but I do understand the grievances that lead to both. We, as a state, and nation, can’t address the one without offering to answer the other.

President Trump’s failed attorney general Jeff Sessions has appointed himself as the spokesman for law and order. In a recent press release, Sessions said, “All over the country we have seen the results of ‘politically correct’ and completely ineffective leadership.”

Sessions blames, “Antifa, far-left radicals, and criminal thugs,” and many agree with him.

During George Wallace’s political rally at Madison Square Garden in 1968, he blamed anarchists, activists, militants, revolutionaries and communists for the nation’s ills.

Wallace also said, “The Supreme Court of our country has hand-cuffed the police, and tonight if you walk out of this building and are knocked in the head, the person who knocks you in the head is out of jail before you get in the hospital, and on Monday morning, they’ll try a policeman about it.”

Today, Wallace, like Sessions, would say that political correctness was the problem, not a culture that targets certain citizens.

Wallace expressed his disdain for demonstrators who tried to block President Lyndon B. Johnson’s limousine saying, “I tell you when November comes, the first time they lie down in front of my limousine, it’ll be the last one they ever lay down in front of; their day is over.”

On Facebook, some Alabamians have suggested protesters be shot in the head if they resist arrest. And so it goes that the ugliness of human nature stands ready to repeat the sins of the past over and over again.

In an Op-Ed, Alabama State University President Quinton T. Ross, Jr., invoked the past in a very different way.

“Our nonviolent stand proved successful in the past, and I believe it could be the catalyst for real and impactful change. Let peace be at the core of all of our actions,” wrote Ross.

“While it seems as though remaining calm in the midst of a racist storm is a signal to be disrespected, disregarded and endangered, remember the lives that were lost to get us to this day. Remember the examples of those who were brutally beaten and rose up from that brutality to walk the halls of Congress, to become mayors, governors, state legislators and community leaders.”

Our nation was born out of public defiance in the face of political oppression. Our nation was to be a port for those seeking hope and justice in a world of tyrants.

President Ronald Reagan called the United States “the shining city upon a hill.”

“In my mind, it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace,” said Reagan in his 1989 Farewell Address to the Nation. He further said he saw the nation as, “A city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors, and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”

Reagan saw a nation where everyone was allowed to live with peace and prosperity. A place where all were equal, deserved freedom and justice. Is that not what we all want, including the protesters?

America has always been a land of promise, and many times, promises are not kept.

But today, our nation may very well be at a turning point.

Will the moral imperative of fairness break over the dam’s edge, or will some just add more sandbags to the top?

Will we decide liberty and justice for all are more than words we repeat by rote, and that everyone deserves the promise of America?

That is the question before us, and now what we choose will show who we are and what we will become.

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Opinion | Racism has broken America. We can fix it

Josh Moon

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The happiest day of my life was March 9, 2018 — the day my daughter was born. 

People who know my wife and me, or who follow either of us on social media, can likely tell that we’re crazy, helicopter parents who think our little Andi Lou is perfect. Because, well, she is. 

We also worry — A LOT. About everything. As we try to keep this little live wire safe and happy. It’s like a never-ending stream of what-ifs and what-abouts and should-we’s. 

Honestly, it’s exhausting. And there are times when I think it’s overwhelming. 

And then someone like Devin Adams gives me a glimpse into a world that I know nothing about. A world that I will never walk in. A world that will forever remain foreign to me. 

That’s the world navigated by the parent of a black child. 

Adams, a senior on the Auburn University football team, on Tuesday tweeted about using his football gear to stay safe in everyday life. Not the pads and helmet, but the jersey and other clothing that identifies him to cops as an Auburn football player. 

“I’ve been asked so many times why I wear Auburn gear all the time…,” Adams tweeted. “then they hit you with ‘YoU MuSt wAnT pPl tO kNoW YoU PlAy FOoTbAlL oR SoMEthINg’…. Lol not even knowing sometimes it’s a protection mechanism to just make it home safe.”

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Other black players responded that they do the same thing. 

Think about that. 

You can dismiss it as an exaggeration if you like — and maybe in some cases, it could be — but this is how a young, college educated guy in one of the safer cities in America feels every single day. 

He fears for his life to the point that he has altered what he wears every day to make OTHER PEOPLE more comfortable with him. To make cops not automatically assume he’s a criminal. To lessen the likelihood of a deadly encounter. 

Now, imagine sending your child out into that world every day. Imagine how Adams’ parents must feel — both knowing that he carries that fear and that the danger he faces is very real. 

Look, we can throw rocks back and forth at each other forever, and place blame on this person or that group, but at the end of the day, we know this is wrong. That young men feel this scared on a daily basis in our country, in our states, in our communities is simply wrong. 

And it is something that every single one of us should want to correct. 

We certainly want that safety for our white kids. We’ve moved mountains and rewrote laws to make sure they’re safe and protected. We’ve built new cities and schools. We’ve put fences and regulations up around our neighborhoods. 

But along the way, we vilified black citizens in the process.

For far too long (and even today in some spots), especially in the South, a “safe neighborhood” meant a neighborhood without black families in it. A “safe school” meant a school without many black students enrolled. Keeping your community safe meant isolating the black citizens to one specific area, dubbing it “n– town,” and telling your children to steer clear of it. 

These things are what led us to today. To the fires and the protests. To the anger and anguish. And to Devin Adams’ heartbreaking fear. 

We have to do better. 

And yeah, I know that’s a common sentence these days. One that’s tossed around without much thought. But I actually mean it. And I have an idea of how to make it happen. 

Affect those around you. 

Racism grows and spreads because it is not challenged. Racism flourishes out of fear — usually of the unknown. 

Don’t allow that with the people you can affect. Don’t stay quiet when friends and family members say ignorant things or pass along ignorant, clearly wrong information. After all, if they’re bold enough to say something stupid out loud, why shouldn’t we be bold enough to say something right? 

But most importantly: Teach your children — and anyone else who will listen to you — that the color of a person’s skin is as meaningless as the color of their shoes, and that skin color should never, ever be a barrier to friendship and love. 

Racism is learned. And it’s just as easy to teach kindness and inclusion. 

My daughter will never hear her parents use racist rhetoric or see us discriminate against anyone. She will play with kids of all races, and it will be as normal as a summer bike ride. She will watch animated shows with black and brown characters and will never know that there was a time when such a thing was incredibly odd. She will one day learn that she is named after a Civil Rights heroine, and she’ll learn that real history too. 

These are not grand gestures. They’re literally the least we can do. 

But I have to believe that if all of us focus on being decent people and changing and molding those we can, it will matter eventually. At least enough that Devin Adams’ children won’t have to wear football gear to feel safe in their own communities.

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Sessions blasts Tuberville for declining Fox News debate invitation

Brandon Moseley

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U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Sessions on Tuesday blasted his Republican primary opponent Tommy Tuberville for rejecting an invitation by Fox News Channel to have Chris Wallace host a debate between Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville on Wallace’s “Fox News Sunday” show.

Tuberville declined the opportunity to debate Sessions on the Sunday news show, six weeks ahead of the July 14 runoff in the U.S. Senate Republican primary.

Sessions said that Tuberville declining the invitation was telling.

“If Tommy Tuberville is too scared to debate on Fox News, he certainly won’t be able to debate on the Senate floor,” Sessions said. “Anyone who can’t debate can’t represent Alabama in the United States Senate. Alabama wants fierce fighters to go to Washington, people who have the courage to debate and fight.”

Sessions campaign said that this was not the first debate Tuberville has declined a debate invitation.

In March, Tuberville agreed to a runoff debate with Sessions, sponsored by WHNT-Huntsville, WIAT-Birmingham, WKRG-Mobile, WRBL-Columbus (GA) and WDHN-Dothan TV stations, only to back out days before the debate could take place.

“Tommy should man up and face his fears,” Sessions said. “I promise to use small one-syllable words in a debate. But he won’t debate because he knows almost nothing about Alabama or the critical issues our great nation faces.”

“The patriotic and conservative state of Alabama must not send a nubbin or a potted plant to the Senate,” Sessions continued. “Our voice and our values must be vigorously asserted. Tommy Tuberville has now proven he won’t do it.”

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Tuberville had more votes than Sessions in the March 3 Republican primary election.

Tuberville leads in polling and has taken the position that he does not benefit from sharing a debate stage with Sessions.

“I’m not used to punting on first down,” Tuberville said in a recent talk radio interview. “That’s pretty much what I’d be doing. You know, he debated once or twice in his career. Obviously, he is behind. He wants a way to catch up. The best thing I can tell him is he needs to get out there and work like I’m working. I’m not sitting at home. I’m going around meeting and shaking hands. And that’s what I’ve done for the last year and a half. You know that. You’ve seen me out there. I have not slowed down. I think going to straight to the people in small towns, communities, and the cities and telling exactly what you’re doing and why you’re doing it is the most important thing.”

“Just getting up in front of the TV camera for an hour is not going to do a whole lot of good,” Tuberville said. “I want to spend my time out with the people who are going to vote for me and people who I am going to represent. Good luck to him doing what he wants to do. They knew way back we were not going to get into a debate because he wouldn’t debate us the first three months he got in. We couldn’t even find him. He was missing in action. He didn’t want to answer the recusal question. Now he’s down 15-20 points, and he wants to debate. We’re not going to bite on that hook.”

Jeff Sessions was U.S. Senator from 1997 to 2017 and U.S. Attorney General from 2017 to late 2018. He previously served as Alabama Attorney General, U.S. Attorney, Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, deputy U.S. Attorney, and as a reserve officer in the U.S. Army.

Tommy Tuberville was the head football coach at Auburn University, Texas Tech University, Cincinnati University, and the University of Mississippi. Tuberville was also the defensive coordinator at the University of Miami and at Texas A&M.

The two will face off in the Republican primary runoff on July 14. The winner will face incumbent Sen. Doug Jones in the November 3 general election.

(Original reporting by WVNN talk radio’s Jeff Poor contributed to this report.)

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