Emantic “EJ” Bradford, Jr’s family has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit over his death. Bradford, a young black man, was killed by a police officer in Hoover a year ago. Attorneys for the family say the officer didn’t follow proper procedures during the incident.
On Thanksgiving night 2018, shots were fired at the Riverchase Galleria mall. Within seconds, a responding police officer then shot and killed the 21-year-old. The police first said that Bradford was the shooter and then admitted the next day that they were wrong. There were marches and protests in the community for weeks following the incident.
The city of Hoover, as well as the officer who shot Bradford, are named in the lawsuit. Officials have not publicly identified the officer involved. The attorneys for Bradford’s family say that the officer didn’t issue a verbal warning before the shooting, which violates recommended policing procedures. The officer is also accused of not turning on his body camera, as well as not verifying if Bradford actually posed a threat before shooting and killing him. The family lawyer, Ben Crump, said that Bradford was never given a chance. The police shot first and then asked questions later.
A year after the shooting at a press conference, another attorney, Devon Jacob, said that the policing policies of the Hoover Police Department are “below standard.” He said this isn’t about the shooting in the Galleria but instead about the right to possess a handgun. At the time of his death, Bradford did have a handgun and was trying to help other people when the first shooting happened. Bradford does have a permit to carry a weapon. At the press conference, individuals called on the police department to release the name of the officer, as well as video related to the case. A separate lawsuit has been filed seeking that information. Bradford’s mother, April Pipkins, said the lawsuit is to bring changes so that no one else has to live through this.
Phillip Corley, the Hoover City Attorney, said that officials defend the officer against the lawsuit and points to a review by the U.S. Justice Department and Alabama Attorney General that says there wasn’t any criminal wrongdoing by the officer. The city has stood by the officer the whole time and will continue doing so.