Mass protests were held Monday in Hoover protesting the Thanksgiving night shooting of Emantic “E.J.” Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. by a Hoover police officer.
Thousands of people had been lured into the Riverchase Galleria Mall that night by retailers seeking to get a jump on “Black Friday.” A scuffle broke out over a pair of sale priced shoes. Someone pulled a weapon and shot an 18-year-old male. A 12-year-old girl was shot in the back, though she and her grandmother were not involved in the fight. A number of people reportedly drew firearms. One of those, Bradford was running from the fight with a gun in his hand. An off-duty Hoover officer who was working private security for the Riverchase Galleria rushed to the scene, spotted Bradford and shot him in the face. Bradford died from his wounds.
The Hoover Police Department announced on Friday that Bradford was the shooter and that was widely reported by the media. Later that afternoon they retracted that statement after investigators determined that the bullets removed from the 18 year could not have come from Bradford’s gun.
The Bradford family have hired famed civil rights attorney, Benjamin Crump, who previously represented Michael Brown’s family and Trayvon Martin’s family.
“Not only did they assassinate his person,” Crump said. “They truly assassinated his character.”
Crump said that witnesses have come forward and said that the officer did not give any verbal commands to Bradford before he shot him. They also claim that a nurse who offered to assist the wounded Bradford was not allowed to provide assistance.
“They offered no medical assistance,” Crump claimed.
“The family has no trust in the narrative put out by the Hoover Police,” Crump said. “Release the video.”
Bradford’s father is a retired Birmingham Police officer. He said that the Birmingham police and Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies are like family; but that the Hoover Police officer’s actions in shooting his son go back to the training by the Hoover PD.
Bradford’s uncle called for both the Hoover Mayor and the Hoover Police to resign.
Some Blacks Lives Matter activists are calling for a boycott of the Riverchase Galleria. Protesters closed busy Highway 31 on Monday night.
“The situation in Hoover has the potential for serious violence — to law enforcement, to the public, to property, to business and travel in Hoover, and to protesters who break laws,” State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) said on social media. “If it keeps getting worse, I could see a possibility that Gov. Ivey would call out the National Guard. Law enforcement may have let this get out of control.”
As of press time, the actual mall shooter has still not been captured.
Hoover authorities contend that Bradford was involved in the fight even though his gun was not the gun that shot the 18-year-old.
“There is a murderer on the loose, because they rushed to judgment,” Crump said.