A new independent autopsy reveals that Alabama mall-shooting victim Emantic “E.J.” Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 21, who was killed by police on Thanksgiving evening, was shot from behind.
According to an NBC News report, an attorney for Bradford’s family, lawyer Benjamin Crump, held a press conference in Birmingham, Alabama, to release the findings. Crump said that the autopsy details that Bradford sustained shots to the head, neck, and back during the ill-fated evening. All three bullets entered Bradford from behind. In addition, the autopsy revealed a cut on his right eyebrow, which may indicate that he fell face forward after police shot him.
“We believe based on this forensic evidence that this officer should be charged with a crime,” Crump said. “There’s nothing that justifies him shooting E.J. as he’s moving away from him. You’re not a threat when you’re running away.”
For now, the Hoover Police Department has refused to release the officer’s body cam footage or any other evidence in the mall shooting until the entire investigation is completed. Right now, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is working on the investigation into the 21-year-old’s death. Hoover police chief Nick Derzis issued a statement that said, “Hoover officials are respecting the requests of ALEA to not release any information at the risk of compromising the justice process for everyone involved.”
Newsweek reported that since the original report, Hoover police changed their story about the shooting. Originally, they announced that two men fought leading to the gunshots, and they acknowledged that Bradford, deceased, was not the gunman from the argument they responded to on Thanksgiving. Three days later, the police department claimed that Bradford brandished a gun following the original gunshots, which led police to believe he was a threat.
Attorney Ben Crump going over the preliminary anatomical review. 3 gunshot wounds: head, neck, and back. Crump says all three gunshots entered from the backside which Crump says suggests that Bradford was moving in the opposite direction of the officer. pic.twitter.com/GQLnbN9dQv— Robert Sherman (@RobertShermanTV) December 3, 2018
At the news conference, Bradford’s dad, Emantic Bradford Sr., a former corrections officer, said, “My son was murdered by this officer, and that was cowardice. You shot a 21-year-old person running away from gunfire. Never posed you a threat, never had nothing in his hand. Why did you shoot him? You can’t explain that to me, ’cause that ain’t training. That’s cowardice.”
According to Bradford Sr., his son had a permit to carry a gun.
The shooting happened around 10 p.m. EST at the Riverchase Galleria when police responded to an argument that erupted in gunfire at the location between several young men. The US Marshals Service captured Erron Brown, 20, the shooting suspect in Georgia on Thursday.