Baylor Cook- Guest Writer
On Tuesday, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall released a report that stated an unnamed Hoover Police Officer was justified in the Thanksgiving shooting of Emantic Fitzgerald “EJ” Bradford Jr., at the Riverchase Galleria.
Bradford was shot and killed during an active shooter scenario that happened on Thanksgiving night. The story immediately received national attention because, initially, it was thought to be an attempted mass shooting.
After he was killed, Bradford was named by the media and the Hoover Police Department as the primary suspect in the shooting. This was later learned to be false, however Bradford did have his gun drawn during the time of the shooting.
Following the incident, intense debate broke out over whether the shooting was justified or not. The Alabama Attorney General’s Office took the case from local authorities, and Bradford’s family hired American Civil Rights Attorney, Benjamin Crump.
Protests, calls for the surveillance video to be released, and public debate ensued until the release of the AG’s report and the surveillance video on February 5th.
The report stated, “After an extensive investigation and review, the Attorney General has determined that Officer 1 [the officer in question] did not commit a crime under Alabama law when he shot and killed E.J. Bradford…”
Following the incident the Bradford family and their attorney addressed the media.
“Attorney General Marshall has allowed a murderer to escape justice,” Attorney Crump said.
“This doesn’t make any sense,” Bradford’s father said. “I spent 20 years in the Marine Corps defending this country, I’ve spent 26 years working in the Birmingham city jail, dealing with law enforcement…and this is the same bull-crap that I told you was going to happen from the beginning. The Attorney General is full of it.”
Bradford’s Mother said, “Attorney General Marshall, I want to know, if this was your child, would you consider this justice? Would anybody consider this justice?”
Upon questioning about the decision, Attorney General Marshall said in an interview with WBRC, “We wanted to make sure the general public understood the factual basis for what it is that we were looking at, and also what the law requires of us. And that is to simply look and see if the officer acted reasonably in the exercise of his duties.” Marshall continued, “In our assessment, and in the FBI’s assessment, we believe the officer involved in this particular case did so.”
Bradford’s father concluded in saying, “Bottom line, I’m going to have my justice, for my child, and you’re going to have to deal with it…”