A black man who was shot dead by police at an Alabama mall on Thanksgiving was shot three times from behind, an autopsy commissioned by his family has revealed. The family has called for the officer responsible to be charged.
Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., a legal gun owner, found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time on Thanksgiving night in Hoover, Alabama. After an altercation between two men broke out and shots were fired, Bradford fled the scene, with witnesses reporting him directing other shoppers to safety with his weapon drawn.
Two police officers responding to the shooting came upon Bradford. Believing him to be the attacker, one officer shot him dead. According to an independent autopsy, Bradford was shot three times from behind: in the back, neck and head.
The autopsy results were revealed at a news conference in Birmingham, Alabama, on Monday. Bradford’s father, a retired corrections officer called his son’s death “murder.”
“My son was murdered by this officer and that was cowardice,” Bradford Sr. said at the conference, according NBC News. “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.”
The family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, said that “based on this forensic evidence…this officer should be charged with a crime.”
Crump has previously represented relatives of other African-American men killed in incidents with authorities, including Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice.
While Hoover police have admitted to killing Bradford by mistake, the department has not yet released video footage of the incident, and will not until the investigation is complete.
The shooting ignited racial tension in the southern city. Protesters disrupted a meeting of Hoover City Council on Monday night, chanting “no justice, no peace,” until the meeting was adjourned. The protesters also marched through the shopping mall where Bradford lost his life, while stores closed down in response.
The actual suspect in the shooting, 20-year-old Erron Brown, was arrested by US Marshals in Georgia on Thursday. Brown was charged with attempted murder.
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