Race & Identity
Rev. Jesse Jackson Calls For Justice During Emantic 'EJ' Fitzgerald Bradford Jr.'s Homegoing
"Innocent blood has power," Jackson said.
Emantic "EJ" Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., the Alabama man who was killed by police following a Thanksgiving mall shooting, has been laid to rest by family members and eulogized by Rev. Jesse Jackson.
An estimated 1,000 people filled the Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham Saturday morning to celebrate the 21-year-old's life.
Initial reports from the Hoover police claimed Bradford was responsible for the shooting of an 18-year-old and a 12-year-old at the Riverchase Galleria Mall on Thanksgiving.
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After further investigation, the young man was helping mall-goers before police arrived on the scene. An unidentified officer shot him for having a gun on his person.
“We regret that our initial media release was not totally accurate, but new evidence indicates that it was not,’’ Hoover police Capt. Gregg Rector said. “We remain committed to maintaining the integrity of this investigation, helping determine the facts involved … “
The Washington Post reports family members told media he had a permit to carry a gun legally. Bradford was honorably discharged from the Army, according to family, and was a kind-hearted person willing to help others.
"We will have the tape made public," Jackson said. "We want transparency, not cover-up. Tell the whole story, tell it now. We want justice now. We want fairness now."
"Innocent blood has power," he said.
The gunman who carried out the shooting, 20-year-old Erron Martez Dequan Brown, was captured in Atlanta, Georgia, and charged with attempted murder November 29.
According to NBC News, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency has launched an investigation into the shooting. Footage from officers' body cams has been turned over to the agency for further review. Although the officer responsible for shooting Bradford has yet to be identified, authorities said they had been placed on inactive duty.
"In the images of those battles and the shedding of blood, E.J. Bradford joins those ranks," Jackson said referring to the long history of civil rights in Alabama. He also invoked the police-involved shootings of Freddie Gray, Michael Brown and others taken too young and too soon.
Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Sr. stood in front of loved ones recalling his son's love and kindness to others.
"The years that I had with him were 21 good years," his father said while fighting back his tears. "To this day, he's always going to be my hero. I miss my baby, and his mama miss him, too."
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