FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 30, 2018
Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. to Deliver Eulogy at Funeral for Young Alabama African American Killed by Police
Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. will deliver the eulogy Saturday, Dec. 1 in Birmingham, Ala. for Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford, Jr. a 21-year-old African American – the latest innocent victim crushed in the collision of race and police officers “with quick trigger fingers.”
“We offer our condolences to the grieving family and a nation that grieves for another innocent black son killed and lied on by an officer of the state,” Rev. Jackson said. “We offer our condolences to a nation that weeps in the face of expanding violence.”
When shooting erupted Thanksgiving night at a shopping mall in suburban Birmingham, Bradford, who was armed and held a conceal/carry permit, was trying to protect his fellow shoppers when police arrived and quickly opened fire.
After the shooting, police initially said Bradford had started the gunfire that wounded two shoppers. But less than 24 hours later the authorities retracted that account, admitting Bradford was not the shooter.
The police had shot and killed the wrong man.
It was not the first time. It was not even the first time in November.
On Nov. 11, in the Chicago suburb of Robbins, security guard Jemel Roberson, a 26-year-old African American, had just captured the suspect in a bar shooting that left four people wounded. Roberson, a popular church musician and young father, was holding the suspect at gunpoint for police. Within minutes a white officer arrived and shot Roberson dead.
So far this year, according to the Washington Post, police across the United States have shot and killed more than 850 people.
“This is a national and historic pattern in America,” Rev. Jackson said. “It is a pattern that continues to expand, a pattern where we are faced with quick trigger fingers in the hands of those called to serve and protect.”
In Alabama, Bradford's former Catholic high school teacher Carl Dean told a local newspaper that Bradford “was a super sweet, funny, kind and good-hearted young man who never had a bad word to say to anyone.”
His funeral will be held Saturday at 10 AM at the 5,000-seat Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham.
“We must never adjust to this predicament,” Rev. Jackson said. “We must never merely resent it with anger. We must resist it with nonviolent action. And we are resisting, not adjusting. We remain maladjusted to this systematic racism and violence. We are long distance runners. We must continue to fight back with our votes and continue to organize coalitions of conscience around the nation.”
Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization that was formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the RainbowCoalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justice around the world.