The family of Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr. is demanding answers after an independent autopsy showed the 21-year-old was shot three times from behind by a police officer.
Police shot and killed Bradford while responding to a report of a shot at an Alabama mall Thanksgiving night. Initially, law enforcement reported that they shot the suspect. Later, they retracted and said Bradford was probably not involved in the shooting.
“As you see from the evidence, my son was not posing a threat,” Emantic Bradford Sr., a law enforcement officer himself, said at a press conference Monday. “If you walked up from behind my son, you should have gave him command, verbal command to drop the weapon. You shot him from the back, as you all can see. Three times my son was shot.”
Bradford did have a handgun at the mall, but he also had a legal conceal-carry permit. Hoover Police Department said in a statement that police saw Bradford as a threat.
“We can say with certainty Mr. Bradford brandished a gun during the seconds following the gunshots, which instantly heightened the sense of threat to approaching police officers responding to the chaotic scene.”
But Bradford Sr. said his son, an Army veteran, would’ve complied with officers.
“That was wrong,” Bradford Sr. continued. “My son was murdered by this officer and that was cowardice. You shot a 21-year-old person running away from gunfire. Never posed you a threat, never had nothing in his hand. Why did you shoot him? You can’t explain that to me, cause that ain’t training. That’s cowardice. You’re a coward.”
Watch the video below:
"My son was murdered by this officer…That ain't training. That's cowardice."
The father of a 21-year-old man mistakenly killed by a police officer in an Alabama mall says an independent autopsy shows his son was shot three times in the back. https://t.co/7pz0u8zpvN pic.twitter.com/ttIb2fRj8G
— ABC News (@ABC) December 3, 2018
Bradford’s death sparked further debate on police violence, especially violence against black men. Critics say Bradford, Army veteran, legal gun owner, and son of a police officer embodied the “good guy with a gun” ideal, and was killed anyway.
The @NRA’s ‘good guy with a gun’ mantra doesn’t apply to Black men.
Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., #EJBradford, an active duty Army officer & son of a police officer was home for Thanksgiving when he was mistaken for a mall shooter & murdered by Hoover, AL police.#WhyWeKneel pic.twitter.com/rMnRYDYFZN
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) November 25, 2018
#EJBradford was everything the Right claims to valorize: a soldier, a devoted family man, a “good guy” with a legal gun, likely attempting to use it to stop a mass shooter.
Cops shot and killed him on sight.
If you guessed that he was black, you’re paying attention. https://t.co/qNo9cTdwh0
— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) November 25, 2018
Police took into custody a new suspect for the original mall shooting, where an 18-year-old man and a 12-year-old girl were wounded, on Thursday.