Prosecutors announced Tuesday that they won’t be filing charges against the Alabama officer who shot and killed a 21-year-old man during a Thanksgiving Day mall shooting.
AL.com reported that Emantic Bradford Jr.’s family met with Attorney General Steve Marshall shortly after Marshall released a 24-page report determining that the unnamed officer’s actions were justified. Bradford, 21, was at the Riverchase Galleria mall when Erron Brown, 20, allegedly shot Bradford’s 18-year-old friend in the stomach and wounded a 12-year-old bystander.
The officer on duty at the mall at the time shot Bradford dead seconds after gunfire erupted. In his statement, the officer said the “suspect was advancing on the two males and had a black handgun in his right hand” and that he was unable to issue verbal commands before firing and striking Bradford.
The report indicated that the officer “mistakenly believed” Bradford was the gunman.
“Officer 1’s actions were reasonable under the circumstances and were consistent with his training and nationally accepted standards for ‘active shooter’ scenarios,” the report stated, adding that Bradford did pose a threat as he engaged Brown with a gun in the vicinity of multiple shoppers.
Despite the officer’s statement, Marshall’s report cited a victim who claimed she heard officers tell Bradford to drop his weapon. Family attorney Benjamin Crump specifically took issue with this part of the report, accusing Marshall of “picking and choosing” witness testimony before calling their investigation a “coverup.”
In a statement posted to Facebook, Crump demanded the Attorney General to issue the full, unedited video to the public. According to AL.com, he alleged that unreleased bodycam footage showed officers fist-bumping over Bradford’s dead body.
“The video tells the whole story,” Crump said. “He was running away, like everybody else…He took his gun out and went back, trying to protect his friend.”
Previously, Crump noted that Bradford was an honorably discharged Army veteran, legal gun owner, and had no criminal record.
Benjamin L. Crump, Esq. issued the following statement in response to the Alabama Attorney General’s Report regarding the officer-involved shooting death of Emantic "EJ" Bradford Jr.#JusticeforEJ
In December, the family released results fn an independent autopsy which showed Bradford was shot three times—in the head, neck, and back—from behind. Chief forensic pathologist Dr. Roger Mitchell found that all three bullets entered Bradford from behind at an upward angle, according to AL.com.
“The cause of death is gunshot wound of the head. The manner of death is homicide,” Crump said at the time, citing the medical examiner’s report.
Brown was arrested days after the Thanksgiving Day shooting and charged with attempted murder. According to WTVM, Bradford’s family said they plan to file a wrongful death lawsuit in light of Tuesday’s announcement.
[Featured Image: Alabama Attorney General’s Office video screenshot]