Reactions to the attorney general’s decision not to press a case against the Hoover police officer who shot Emantic “E.J.” Bradford Jr. on Thanksgiving night continued Wednesday.
Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato said in press conference that the city will give its full support to the officer, who has not been officially named, if civil suits are filed in the case. City information officer Melanie Posey said the city had deemed the findings of the report thorough and complete.
“We realize that strong emotions exist and will continue to be expressed from many viewpoints,” Brocato said. “It is our strong desire to have reconciliation and understanding as we approach the future.”
Asked how the city will handle any more protests over the shooting, Brocato said: “We have shown good faith in making sure that if you want to come to our city to protest, that they are safe and we will continue to do that. It’s a first amendment right and it is our job to protect them.”
Protestors already had announced that they would resume protesting in Hoover. LeDarius Hilliard, one of the lead organizers of the protests, said he was both hurt and angry about the attorney general’s decision.
“The fact that the attorney general doesn’t see probable cause to at least hand it over to a grand jury is disheartening,” said Hilliard.
Hilliard said he believed the facts of the case still have not been properly considered.
“They ruled it justifiable and released 13 seconds of a video that clearly shows someone being shot from the back – kill shots – and literally everyone in the mall scattering,” said Hillard. “No command is being shown. Nobody is saying freeze.”
About 40 protestors, including Bradford’s parents, protested in front of the Attorney General’s Office in Montgomery on Wednesday morning to denounce the decision to exonerate the officer of any criminal wrongdoing.
“I knew there was going to be some nonsense when he took the case,” Emantic Bradford Sr. said. Attorney General Steve Marshall recused District Attorney Danny Carr from the case despite his objections and took over the investigation in part because of Carr’s relationship with leaders of protests in Hoover.
“He (Marshall) never picked up the phone, but he got on TV and lied and said he reached out to the family. He never reached out to us,” Bradford said. Demonstrators demanded to speak with Marshall, shouting for him to leave his office and meet with the Bradford family.
The protestors also held up signs at the locked doors to the office building and shouted Bradford’s name.
The protesters were met by state troopers who attempted to cite disorderly contact statutes over the protestors’ chants. Two protestors were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
Ben Crump, the attorney representing the Bradford family, has called for access to the entire video from surveillance cameras at the Galleria, where the shooting occurred, rather a clip.
“Until the full video has been released to the public,” Crump said in a press statement, “everyone is subject to the editing bias that the Attorney General’s Office chose to apply in preparing its report.”
Calling the attorney general’s findings “outrageous and beyond comprehension,” Crump said, “The attorney general says no more than two seconds elapsed between the time officers engaged E.J. Bradford and the time he was gunned down by a police officer, who admitted he provided no verbal warning. Are we also to accept that the officer had no duty to determine what was actually happening, that instead it was fine for him to fire fatal shots with no more than two seconds to consider whether it was warranted – especially when there was a second officer who did not shoot?”
Protests were held Tuesday at the Hoover City Hall. Carlos Chaverst, another leader of the protests, burned an American Flag with the words “Black Lives Don’t Matter,” saying the action represented what happened to Bradford Jr. and what it is like to be black in America.
Hilliard said that the Bradford family has asked that the protesters continue and that the city of Hoover take responsibility and express true sympathy for the killing.
“I am disheartened at the mayor and the city administrator for this lack of respect,” said Hilliard. “I really wonder, if Emantic was white, would we really be going through this situation. I refuse to believe we would be going through the same situation had the roles been reversed.”