Protests over the shooting death of E.J. Bradford by a Hoover police officer have now moved to Montgomery.
More than a dozen protesters roamed the streets of the Hampstead neighborhood in Montgomery, where Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall lives, using a bullhorn and chanting “hands up, don’t shoot.”
Montgomery Police were called to the scene, spoke briefly with the protesters and asked that they leave and obtain a permit. The protesters promptly left, promising to return every night until Marshall turned the case back over to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.
Why Marshall decided to take over the investigation into Bradford’s shooting death remains puzzling to many, considering the mountain of evidence — including multiple witnesses and multiple videos of the incident — and the involvement of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) from nearly the outset.
Bradford was shot following a chaotic scene on Thanksgiving evening inside the Galleria. Erron Brown has been charged with shooting two people inside the mall that night, including Bradford’s friend, Brian Wilson.
Bradford was not part of the altercation that led to the shooting, according to numerous news stories that quote eye-witnesses. Bradford did have a handgun, which his family and family attorney say he had a license to carry, and was carrying it after the shooting.
A Hoover police officer working a security detail at the mall saw Bradford with the gun, shot him and killed him. Bradford’s family’s attorney said a private autopsy showed Bradford was shot three times in the back. The family has said that video of the incident will prove that Bradford posed no threat and was murdered by the Hoover officer.
Anger over Bradford’s shooting rose when Hoover PD released several statements that contained errors, and implicated Bradford in the altercation. The first statement released by Hoover PD implied that Bradford was the shooter.
Protests began shortly thereafter, and have included a boycott of the mall, stopping traffic at various areas and chanting outside of elected officials’ homes.
On Dec. 13, Marshall announced his office was taking over the prosecution of the case, and he cited JeffCo DA Danny Carr’s potential conflicts of interest. The primary conflict Marshall cited was a relationship Carr had with the organizer of many of the protests, Carlos Chaverst.
In response, Chaverst and another organizer, Le’Darius Hilliard, posted photos of themselves standing next to Marshall and each claimed to have a “close and personal” relationship with the AG. They asked that Marshall turn the case back over to Carr’s office and request the U.S. Department of Justice or FBI to investigate.
Marshall’s office denied relationships with Chaverst and Hilliard.
The protesters have vowed to make life “difficult” for Marshall until he either turns the case back over to Carr or releases the videos of Bradford’s shooting.