The family of Emantic “E.J.” Bradford Jr. filed a lawsuit on Monday against Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and the Hoover, Ala. Police Department demanding that information related to Bradford’s shooting death at the hands of police at the Riverchase Galleria mall be released.
According to AL.com, the suit comes more than a month after Marshall announced that the Hoover officer who killed Bradford wouldn’t face charges. The lawsuit, filed by Bradford’s parents, the family’s attorney Benjamin Crump, the ACLU of Alabama, and the Alabama NAACP demands the release of all body camera and surveillance footage of the shooting, as well as other documents related to the case, including the names of the officers present. The officer fired the shots that killed Bradford has remained unidentified.
The lawsuit claims that Marshall has refused to turn over the information when asked through a public records request. The ACLU noted in a press release that Marshall “asserted, among other reasons, that disclosing any information would ‘negatively impact…the personal safety of law enforcement officials.'”
Hoover police have also denied requests to make the information public.
Bradford, 21, was killed on the night of Thanksgiving following a shooting at the Riverchase where two people were injured. The authorities had originally identified Bradford as the suspected gunman but later backtracked, noting that Bradford, who was licensed to carry a weapon and who family believe was trying to protect shoppers, was not involved.
“After the officer shot Mr. Bradford, he and one or more other officers approached Mr. Bradford’s body. At or near Mr. Bradford’s body, two or more officers then made a fist-bump gesture. On information and belief, they did not attempt to render first aid to Mr. Bradford before making this celebratory gesture,” the lawsuit claimed.
“In the wake of the police killing of E.J. Bradford, which has amplified the fear and mistrust that many black and brown Alabamians feel toward the police, such transparency and accountability is especially important,” the suit added.
Crump slammed officials for their handling of the case, insinuating that they were trying to withhold evidence.
“It’s ludicrous and insulting that the state of Alabama thinks we should simply take their word about what happened, without letting us see the full and unedited video footage and without releasing the officer’s name…In a state with the racial history of Alabama, why would anyone believe their account of a white officer shooting a Black man, especially when they’re trying to hide some of the evidence?” Crump said in a press release.
ACLU of Alabama Executive Director Randall Marshall also noted that Bradford’s family and Alabamians “deserve transparency and accountability.”
“It’s repugnant that Attorney General Marshall is hiding behind unfounded claims that transparency would endanger law enforcement when refusing to disclose the footage and documents we requested,” he said according to AL.com.
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