The mother of the Alabama man who was mistakenly shot by police during a shooting in a mall on Thanksgiving believes that her son would not be dead if he was a white person.
Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr. was killed during an armed altercation at a Hoover-area mall, after an off-duty police officer (working mall security) spotted Bradford carrying a gun in the crowd and shot him.
Bradford was initially the primary suspect in police reports, though statements were later revised to note that he “probably” didn’t open fire during the shooting, which allegedly stemmed from an altercation and resulted in two wounded.
According to FOX Carolina, Hoover police claimed that Bradford, who possessed a concealed carry permit, “brandished a gun during the seconds following the gunshots, which instantly heightened the sense of threat to approaching police officers responding to the chaotic scene.”
Photos of Bradford soon made their way around the TV and internet, initially showing him in a military uniform, wearing his patrol cap backwards and flashing a gang sign. Erroneously reporting that he was an active-duty US Army Soldier, it was later revealed by Army officials that he had enlisted to be a combat engineer, but was given a general discharge before he could attend Advanced Individual Training and therefore did not officially serve in the Army. It is unknown what Bradford did to wash out of military training.
Hoover Police Captain Gregg Rector revealed that while Bradford may not have opened fire, he might have been part of the altercation that resulted in shots being fired.
“Over the past 20 hours, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office investigators and crime scene technicians have interviewed numerous individuals and examined several critical evidentiary items,’’ Rector said. “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. “
Body camera footage from the HPD officer involved is being reviewed by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), a state-level agency that oversees the state bureau of investigations and state police. It is unknown when that footage will be released to the public.
Despite a pending investigation, many around the country -to include Bradford’s mother and family attorney- are claiming the incident occured due to racism on the part of police.
“(The officer) saw a black man with a gun and he made his determination that he must be a criminal,” attorney Benjamin Crump said, claiming Bradford was not involved in the altercation and was simply getting people to safety.
According to the Daily Mail, regional NAACP field Kevin Miles spoke at Bradford’s community vigil last night, claiming that the shooting of black males by police is part of a larger pattern, and akin to the events that followed Hurricane Katrina.
“This is our personal Katrina,” he said. “The helicopters are not coming, nobody is coming to bring us water. If we are to be saved we will save ourselves.”
Bradford’s mother, April Pipkins, claimed that “the whole scenario would have played out differently” if her son had been born white.
“I can’t get it out of my head,” she said. “I cannot get the scene out of my head of my child laying there, nobody around him trying to help him, just laying like a piece of trash where everyone can walk around and parade and post pictures of him on social media.”
The shooting is still under investigation, and the gunman responsible remains unknown and potentially at large.
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