Officials in Alabama expressed sympathy to Emantic “EJ” Bradford, Jr.’s family for a police officer killing him last month, but the timing of the announcement raised eyebrows. The statement from the Hoover City Council came a week after the lawmakers huddled behind doors to brace for an impending lawsuit.
A Hoover cop gunned down Bradford on Thanksgiving night at a shopping mall not far from Birmingham. Hoover officials wrongfully accused Bradford of being the mall shooter before discovering their mistake.
“Our official communications have consistently expressed sympathy and condolences to the Bradford family,” an email from the Hoover City Council said to NewsOne on Tuesday in response to a media inquiry. The email made sure to point out that the city council’s first Black member arranged a private meeting with the family that he attended with the mayor and police chief.
Still, Monday’s statement was the first from the entire city council.
“The Hoover City Council wants to publicly extend sympathy to the family of E.J. Bradford, Jr. and will continue to support them through prayer. We also pray for those injured or in any other way affected. The Council wants to formally express their regret for the misinformation provided to the public that later implicated E.J. Bradford, Jr. as the shooter in the November 22nd incident of violence,” said the statement, which was read Monday night to residents attending the council’s public meeting that was disrupted by protesters.
The still-unidentified officer was responding to reports of a mall shooting and fired on-sight at Bradford, who was armed with a licensed gun, based apparently on implicit racial bias. Investigators arrested the actual suspect on Thursday.
A private autopsy released Monday found that the officer shot the 21-year-old Army veteran three times from behind, including a bullet to the head.
Meanwhile, Hoover’s mayor and police chief reiterated on Monday their refusal to release information, including police body camera footage and the officer’s name, to the public.
At the same time, the officials have pledged to be transparent. It’s no wonder that folks are furious.
About 70 protesters attended the City Council’s meeting on Monday night, AL.com reported. Lawmakers cut it short after protesters began chanting “No justice, no peace. If we don’t get it, shut it down. Say his name, E.J.”