The City of Hoover, Alabama is responding to a lawsuit filed by the attorneys representing the family of Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr.
Ben Crump, the family’s lawyer, said during a Friday morning (November 22) news conference that the lawsuit would be filed that same day. The City of Hoover, however, released a statement within 10 minutes of the press conference ending, defending the findings of the Alabama Attorney General’s Office and the United States Department of Justice.
“We will vigorously defend the City and our officers against these false allegations,” the statement reads in-part. “The many allegations made against the City of Hoover in the days and weeks following the incident are false. After all evidence is presented, no wrongdoing by the City or any of our officers will be shown.”
The news conference and response to it came on the anniversary of an officer-involved shooting that resulted in Bradford’s death.
The 2018 shooting was investigated be ALEA and the Attorney General’s office, but in February, they ruled that the Hoover police officer who fatally shot Bradford was justified.
EJ Bradford was shot and killed inside the Riverchase Galleria on Thanksgiving night last year. Hoover Police initially said Bradford was the gunman who shot 18-year-old Brian Wilson and 12-year-old Molly Davis, but later claimed Bradford “likely did not fire the rounds” that hit them.
“There’s more to the story than what’s there in the video. We needed to understand what the officers observed and what other witnesses observed,” AG Marshall said when speaking about the ruling.
Back in March, Crump and Bradford’s family filed a lawsuit demanding the release of all police body camera and surveillance footage of the incident, as well as documents that included the officers’ names.
The suit claims: “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.
“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 complaint adds.
Crump and the family also claim that their own investigation revealed that Bradford drew his gun in an attempt to protect himself and others.
“He was really the hero in all of this. He did nothing wrong,” Bradford’s mother, April Pitkins, said of her son after the report was released, according to ABC News.
Erron Brown, who was 20 at the time of the shooting, was arrested and charged with attempted murder for shooting 18-year-old Brian Wilson, which proceeded the officer-involved shooting of Bradford.
Police body cam footage of the shooting has never been released by authorities.