FILE – In this Nov. 27, 2018, file frame from video, April Pipkins holds a photograph of her deceased son, Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr., during an interview in Birmingham, Ala. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said Thursday, Dec. 13, that his office take over the investigation into the police killing of Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr., a black man in the state’s largest shopping mall on Thanksgiving night. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves, File)
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Relatives of a black man killed by police in Alabama’s largest shopping mall, claimed on Monday that a state takeover of the research is a bid by the authorities for the protection of the officer.
The latest flashpoint between the dead man’s family and the authorities came out on Monday.
Keeping a photo of her son Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr., April Pipkins said the move by the Attorney-General Steve Marshall to take control of the probe seemed to be aimed at shielding the officer, who has yet to be mentioned in public.
The family’s lawyers contend the case should be with the newly elected Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr, who is black, or to Lynneice Washington, the other in black-and-attorney who handles cases in the western part of the province.
“The whole family wants is for justice to be served for my son,” Pipkins said during a press conference. “By taking the case of Mr. Carr, we feel they are trying to protect this officer who are killed by the son.”
Carr refused to comment, but his office reissued a statement from last week, it was that was able to probe into Bradford’s death in a shopping mall in a suburb of Hoover on Thanksgiving night.
Marshall’s spokesman also not return an e-mail seeking comment. Marshall said last week that his office was taking over the investigation to guard against possible conflicts of interest for local officials.
The police officer who shot Bradford is involved in approximately 20 cases pending before the public prosecutor, the officials said. At least one protest leader involved in demonstrations over the shooting by the government-backed Carr in his successful attempt to bring Birmingham’s first black prosecutor.
Ben Crump, a lawyer in Bradford family, said relatives were “very suspicious” of the suit by Marshall, one of the Republican appointed who won his first term in office over the past month. The officer should be charged with murder if the evidence supports, ” he said.
“They feel that they are trying to protect this officer,” said Crump.
Bradford, 21, was shot and killed moments after gunfire erupted during a confrontation in the Riverchase Galleria, which was crowded with holiday shoppers. The police initially claimed Bradford was the shooter in that first confrontation, said an officer shot him. She later said Bradford was not the shooter, but that an officer heard shots, saw Bradford with a gun and shot at him.
Family members have said Bradford was licensed to carry a weapon.
A forensic examination commissioned by the family showed that Bradford was shot three times in the rear part of his body, including once in the back of the head.
A short part of the videotape reviewed by the family’s legal team supports the evidence that gives Bradford was away from the officer when he was shot, said Crump. The authorities have refused to publicly release the video or other documents, stating the continuation of the research.