The mother of a 21-year-old killed by a police officer has filed a federal lawsuit against the officer and the city that employs the cop who shot and killed her son at an Alabama mall in 2018.
During a confrontation on November 22, 2018, someone opened fire inside the Galleria Mall in Hoover, Ala., during the crowded Black Friday. In the ensuing commotion, a police officer moonlighting at the mall shot 21-year-old Emantic “E.J.” Bradford three times from the back, killing him. Officials with Hoover Police Department immediately held a press conference and announced that they had taken down the mall shooter. There was only one problem:
They killed the wrong person.
On Friday, April Pipkins filed a federal lawsuit charging that the unnamed cop and the city of Hoover used excessive force, violated her son’s constitutional rights to due process and never issued a verbal warning before they opened fire, according to CNN. The suit concedes that Bradford was indeed armed, but alleges that he was helping people escape the melee armed with a concealed weapon he was permitted to carry.
According to the suit, the officer “admits that he never gave Bradford any verbal warnings or commands from which he could further assess and verify Bradford’s status as either (a) an innocent civilian and/or first responder, or (b) a credible threat.” But Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has already ruled that the shooting was justified, absolving the HPD and the law enforcement officer of any criminal responsibility. A 24-page report determined that the anonymous moonlighting mall cop “identified E.J. Bradford as an immediate deadly threat to innocent civilians and thus shot Bradford to eliminate the threat.”
That narrative does not comport with an autopsy report by a forensic pathologist, as we reported earlier:
The pathologist determined that the 21-year-old was shot from the back, moving away from the police officer who shot him.
While the report did not establish an order of the gunshot wounds, the report noted three gunshot wounds which were all “kill shots.” One bullet entered the right rear of Bradford’s head, traveled through the brain and exited out of the other side, according to the preliminary examination. Another entered the base of his neck from the rear and a third entered his rear right torso, just above the hip. These two remained lodged inside Bradford.
“All three of the gunshot wounds came from the back, which would suggest that EJ was moving away at the time the police fired,” explained the family attorney Benjamin Crump. “This is not to suggest that he was running from the police. Witnesses have verified that everybody was running from the gunshots.”
Citing the ongoing case against the alleged real mall shooter, Erron Brown, Hoover officials have refused to release any records related to the incident.
The city of Hoover has vowed to stand by the officer.