Officials in Hoover, Alabama doubled down Monday on their vow of silence in response to demands for information about the circumstances surrounding the police killing of Emantic “EJ” Bradford, Jr. on Thanksgiving night in a shopping mall.
“While we maintain our commitment to be fully transparent during this process, we must respect the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s request for full cooperation and continue to have faith in the judicial process,” Hoover Chief of Police Nick Derzis said in a statement released Monday explaining the reason behind the continued silence.
“We will have the tape made public. We want transparency, not coverup. Tell the whole story, tell it now. We want justice now. We want fairness now,” the civil rights leader said.
An officer shot Bradford while responding to a mall shooting, gunning down the Black man on sight based on instinctive and implicit racial bias. Police announced immediately after the killing that Bradford was the mall shooter—before admitting its avoidable error when it was later discovered that Bradford’s gun had not been fired, prompting police to change its story. Some witnesses said the 21-year-old was helping others escape the shooting.
The arrest of the actual suspect came Nov. 29.
Bradford’s family has demanded the release of mall video, witness videos and body camera footage of Bradford’s death.
However, Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato, who vowed transparency, has ruled out the release of video and identifying the officers involved in the shooting.
Shortly after the shooting, Hoover turned over the investigation to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, which will determine when — or if — the public will see video evidence from the shooting, as well as whether to identify the officers involved.
In his statement on Monday, the police chief pointed to a Dec. 1 letter he and the mayor received from Alabama Secretary of Law Enforcement Hal Taylor.
Derzis said the letter reiterated Taylor’s objection to “the premature release of any critical information in regards to the investigation.”