After a prolonged investigation into the death of Emantic Bradford Jr. in November, a recent report released by the State Bureau of Investigation in Alabama has cleared the unidentified officer responsible.
Bradford was killed on Thanksgiving night at the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover. He was shot by an officer responding to gunfire inside the mall. According to the officer's testimony, he saw Bradford with a gun and assumed him to be a threat. Bradford was running towards his friend Brian Wilson when he was struck with three bullets in his head, neck and back.
Apparently, this incident was part of a larger story that happened before the police arrived on the scene. Wilson had been previously wounded by Erron Brown, who fled the scene before Bradford was shot and claimed that he was acting in self-defense when he shot Wilson. The discovery of this new suspect is most likely what caused Hoover's mayor and chief of police to publicly announce that they were mistaken and it was probably Brown who was the shooter rather than Bradford. The police arrested Brown in Georgia on Nov. 29, five days after the shooting.
On Feb. 6, this past Wednesday, the State Bureau's statement was released. It was concluded that the officer made a split-second decision, rather than acting on a pre-conceived plan. He saw Bradford running towards the area where two shots had been fired and two people wounded.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall offered this justification along with the report:
"And that is the perspective that the officer had when he saw Mr. Bradford turn [in an] aggressive stance, head to the direction of people that were unarmed, and the officer made the decision that taking action with his firearm was going to ensure the safety of the people there."
This report was not met well by protesters who have been picketing the shooting since November. Bradford's family says that they plan on holding future protests outside the Attorney General's home and office.
Though the protesters have demanded that the whole footage of the shooting be released, as well as the identity of the officer who shot Bradford, Marshall has denied the need to do so.
"If any other individual were investigated by law enforcement and there was no determination a crime was committed, that information wouldn't be public," Marshall said. "There's no reason for an officer to be treated any differently."