A Hoover, Ala. Police officer will not face charges in the fatal shooting of a Black man at a local shopping mall after the state attorney general ruled that the officer acted lawfully during the incident.
According to Reuters, Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office released a 24-page report detailing why he declined to charge the officer, who has still not been identified.
The shooting occurred on Thanksgiving night and was prompted after a man shot and injured a teen inside of the mall. Emantic Bradford Jr., also known as EJ, drew his own licensed gun, with family members insisting he was trying to protect those around him from the real shooter.
However, the Hoover police officer saw Bradford running toward the altercation holding a gun and decided to open fire, killing the 21-year-old, who he apparently mistook for the possible gunman.
Bradford was shot three times in the back.
A 20-year-old suspect was later arrested in connection with the mall shooting and charged with attempted murder in the shooting of the teenager.
“First, a reasonable person could have assumed that the only person with a gun who was running toward the victim of a shooting that occurred just three seconds earlier fired the shots,” the report noted. “Second, [the officer’s] primary duty and training was to eliminate any threat to innocent civilians and first responders.”
However, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Bradford’s family, said that surveillance video released on Tuesday tells the “whole story.”
“EJ ran almost 50 feet away, just like everybody else, and then he realized his friend … was not with him and he took his gun out and went back to try to protect his friend,” Crump said. “Isn’t that lawful?”
“The police shot, we believe, because they feared a black man with a gun,” the attorney added.
According to CBS, Crump said that the family’s fight for justice for their son is not over, noting that he plans to file a civil suit against Hoover.
“The police officer in less than two seconds made a judgment call that he saw a black man, he saw a gun, he concluded that he’s … a criminal. And he shot [him] in the back,” Crump said.
“To see and know that they’re justifying shooting my son three times … how is that justifiable?” April Pipkins, Bradford’s mother, inquired.
Emantic Bradford Sr., Bradford’s father, noted that he watched the surveillance footage of his son’s death, adding “It’s murder. My son was going back to help his friend.”