It’s been a week since police shot and killed Emantic Bradford Jr., a Black man who was wrongly identified as the gunman during a shooting at an Alabama mall. And now, officers are saying that they have arrested the real shooter. According to CNN, 20-year-old Erron Brown was arrested on Thursday at a relative’s home in Georgia, facing one count of attempted murder for the Thanksgiving night shooting at Riverchase Galleria Mall near Birmingham, Ala. On the night of the shooting, officers gunned down Bradford Jr., who was licensed to carry a weapon and who family believe was trying to protect shoppers from the real assailant. Ever since then, the narrative the authorities have offered has changed repeatedly. As CNN notes, at first, Hoover, Ala., police claimed that Bradford was the suspect who shot and injured an 18-year-old man and a 12-year-old bystander. Later, police backtracked, acknowledging that Bradford wasn’t behind the shooting, but did brandish a gun. Then, they backtracked further, saying that Bradford did have his licensed weapon in his hand, but did not say that he was threatening anyone. Regardless, from the time officers acknowledged that they had mistakenly identified Bradford as the shooter, there have been accusations of racial profiling, that police shot an actual good guy with a gun because they could not see past the color of his skin. The officer who killed Bradford is on administrative leave – as is the norm in these situations – pending the outcome of the investigation. Meanwhile, the family of Brian Wilson, the 18-year-old victim, is speaking out offering its condolences to Bradford’s family and demanding the end of “reckless police shootings” of young Black men.
“The Wilson family hopes that this tragic event will lead to real, open and honest dialogue not only between the African-American community and the police, but also the entire community must be involved in this discussion,” the statement, written by Wilson’s attorney John C. Robbins read. “Reckless police shootings of young black men must stop. But they will not end until there is rational and productive communication between the entire community and the police force, whose duty it is to protect that community.”