City officials seek to release more on Alabama mall shooting
HOOVER, Ala. — Leaders of an Alabama city that’s been targeted by protesters since police shot and killed a black man in a shopping mall asked the state Thursday for permission to release more information about the killing.
With the city’s lone black City Council member, Derrick Murphy, acting as a spokesman, officials made the request during an appearance at City Hall that ended with two prayers. The city will look at releasing information on its own if no response comes by noon Monday, Murphy said.
Demonstrators and relatives of Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr., 21, have pushed authorities to release video and other evidence since an officer responding to a report of a shooting at Alabama’s largest shopping mall shot and killed Bradford on Thanksgiving night.
Murphy, who joined other leaders in meeting with Bradford’s relatives earlier this week, said the city wanted to help answer questions raised by the family.
“They have our love, they have our prayers,” he said.
The city made the request about evidence to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency because state investigators are handling the shooting probe. A spokesman for the agency did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
A minister who described himself as the Bradford family’s pastor, Mike McClure Jr., said releasing video of the shooting would help calm growing tensions that have included days of protests and racist social media posts.
“When there is no information it only leads to imagination,” said McClure, one of two pastors who closed the councilman’s statement with prayer.
McClure said Bradford attended his church, and McClure will officiate at funeral services on Saturday which will include a eulogy by the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Bradford was killed by an officer responding to a report of a mall shooting on Thanksgiving. Two people were wounded, and Bradford was shot to death on a mall concourse decorated for Christmas.
Police said Bradford had a gun, and they initially blamed him for opening fire. They later retracted that allegation, saying he most likely wasn’t the shooter.
An officer, who has yet to be publicly identified, shot and killed Bradford upon seeing the young man’s gun moments after shots rang out, police said.
Authorities haven’t publicly identified a suspect in the shooting, which left a 12-year-old girl and a friend of Bradford wounded, and no arrests have been made.