March 12 (UPI) — The family of a man fatally shot by police on Thanksgiving is suing the Hoover police attorney general for body camera footage, surveillance footage and documents, including the names of involved officers, regarding the shooting.
The lawsuit filed Monday with Jefferson County comes more than a month after the Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office said it would not prosecute the Hoover Police Department officer who shot and killed Emantic “E.J.” Bradford Jr.
A day after the shooting, Hoover police said that Bradford was most probably not the active shooter they were trying to apprehend, Birmingham Real-time News reported.
A press release by the ACLU of Alabama announcing the lawsuit Monday claims that witnesses said Bradford “was trying to protect people during an active shooting” when he was shot by an unnamed police officer.
“First they killed my son, then they gave us some ridiculous explanation, now they want us to trust their version of what happened,” E.J.’s father Emantic Bradford Sr. said in a statement. “That is simply not going to happen. They owe me so much in exchange for my son’s life, and at the very least they owe me the truth.”
The coalition of Bradford’s parents, Bradford family attorney Ben Crump, the ACLU of Alabama and Alabama NAACP is suing Marshall for the footage and documents as he refused to fulfill a Public Records Request, saying their release would negatively impact the personal safety of law enforcement officials.
“It’s ludicrous and insulting that the state of Alabama thinks we should simply take their word about what happened, without letting us see the full and unedited video footage and without releasing the officer’s name who killed E.J.,” Bradford family attorney Ben Crump said. “In a state with the racial history of Alabama, why would anyone believe their account of a white officer shooting a Black man, especially when they’re trying to hide some of the evidence?”
On top of the lawsuit, the civil rights groups have filed a Public Records Request for information on implicit bias policies and training, use-of-force policies and training and guidelines for active shooter situations, which the Hoover Police Department agreed to produce, the ACLU of Alabama said.
“E.J.’s family and the people of Alabama deserve transparency and accountability from the police department responsible for the death of an innocent Black man,” said ACLU of Alabama Executive Director Randall Marshall. “It’s repugnant that Attorney General Marshall is hiding behind unfounded claims that transparency would endanger law enforcement when refusing to disclose the footage and documents we requested.”