The way cops have handled the police killing of a Black man on Thanksgiving night in a small Alabama town was increasingly appearing to be nothing short of disastrous and flat-out disrespectful.
First, police officers responded to a mall shooting in Hoover and promptly shot Emantic “EJ” Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. on sight without asking questions that probably would have led to the member of the Army accurately identifying himself as a licensed gun owner. Instead, police decided Bradford and his black skin were a threat, leading an officer to follow his implicitly biased instinct and fire the fatal shot in the Riverchase Galleria.
Police announced immediately after the killing that he was the mall shooter before admitting their avoidable error when it was later found out Bradford’s gun had not been fired, prompting police to change its story. Turns out it may have actually been Bradford who was trying to stop the mall shooting before being shot himself. Meanwhile, the actual gunman remained at large more than two days later.
But now, it was being revealed that police never once tried to notify Bradford’s family while he was, as the Associated Press wrote, “lying in a pool of blood on the mall floor.” Instead, Bradford’s family found out about the tragedy on social media, his aunt told members of the media during a protest Saturday in the Birmingham suburb.
“I can’t believe that this happened on Thanksgiving Day,” a woman who identified herself as Bradford’s aunt said. “No one came to the house to tell them that his son was laying in the Galleria in blood.”
She continued: “We’re not the first family that done lost someone. But we’re the first family that lost someone and didn’t know about it until we looked on social media.”
Bradford’s father said he resented how police immediately described his son as the mall shooter.
“They were so quick to rush to judgment. … I knew my son didn’t do that,” Emantic Bradford Sr. told the AP. “People rushed to judgment. They shouldn’t have done that.”