By Dr. John E. Warren, Publisher
E.J Bradford was shot and killed by police at a shopping mall in Hoover, Alabama by police who mistakenly thought he was the shooter in a Thanksgiving Day incident at the mall. The Thanksgiving night shooting wounded two people. Further investigation led local police to confess that Mr. Bradford was not the shooter in the incident. As a matter of fact, the shooter was arrested one week later in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Hoover Riverchase Galleria incident is of great importance to a nation who has already killed too many black men for incidents that were less than felonies or life threatening. Once again, the matter is made worse by the senseless and excessive use of force in this incident.
The independent autopsy commissioned by attorney Benjamin Crump revealed that Mr. Bradford was shot three times in the back: once in the back of the head, once in the neck and once in the back. The very number of shots and the haste to judgment represented by those
shots is indicative of a disrespect for human life. The fact that, in view of all the police shootings this nation has experienced, a police officer would shoot anyone without consideration for what that means is more than troubling. What that action really says is that I know we have killed a number of black men under all kinds of questionable circumstances, but, what the hell, what is one more.
Such an attitude, displayed by what is now beyond a doubt an unnecessary use of force by police, cannot be ignored as just another shooting anymore than the Texas murder of a black man in his own apartment by a white off-duty police woman who lied so much about the shooting that the charges have now been changed from manslaughter to murder.
If police or law enforcement officers don’t change their attitude and culture toward the needless shooting of civilians, then we the public will have to seriously consider alternatives, including the kind of public pressure that will not go away until we see desired results including indictments, trials and convictions by juries of peers that look like the victims.
To the family of E. J. Bradford, we extend our prayers and our promises that we will not leave you on this loss. We pray that God be with you and all those who have suffered such losses. We will not forget.