Alabama police kill Black army veteran after mall shooting, then say he may not have been involved
According to the Washington Post, police in Hoover, Alabama originally indicated Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. was the shooter in a mall after they killed the 21-year-old army veteran. The police initially told reporters outside of Riverchase Galleria that Bradford had shot a teenager during a skirmish near the food court and had wounded a 12-year-old girl before brandishing his pistol at a police officer in uniform. Speaking to reporters from Al.com, Police Chief Nick Derzis claimed, “(Police officers) heard the gunfire, they engaged the subject, and they took out the threat.”
However, the following morning, WBRC reporter Bakari Savage posted a photo showing a pistol on the floor near the Santa’s Village display at the mall, not the Galleria, which prompted questioning of the police’s original account to reporters.
— Bakari Savage (@BakariSavage) November 23, 2018
Friday evening, the police issued a semi-retraction, but stopped short of taking accountability for issuing a false report to the media. “We regret that our initial media release was not totally accurate, but new evidence indicates that it was not,” the statement 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. This information indicates that there is at least one gunman still at-large.”
Bradford’s father, Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Sr., told the Associated Press, “(Hoover PD) were so quick to rush to judgment,” and there were protesters in the mall on Saturday demanding to know why the police killed a Black man who they did not know was involved with the mall shooting. The police, who have not released any further statements about whether or not Bradford Jr. was actually involved in the shooting, have turned the investigation over to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.
On the scene, a man is heard yelling out in several videos captured and posted online, “That boy didn’t shoot at nobody. He’s dead! They just killed that Black boy for no reason. . . He probably got a gun license and everything.” Civil Rights attorney Benjamin Crump, notable for defending Trayvon Martin and Stephon Clark’s families, is now representing the Bradford family.