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We Have Been Here Before: Emantic Bradford Shot from Behind by Police

December 3, 2018




Monday, December 3, 2018


We Have Been Here Before: Emantic Bradford Shot from Behind by Police

A statement by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The longer there is delayed justice in the police killing of Emantic F. Bradford, Jr. in Alabama on Thanksgiving night, the larger will grow a sense of protest, anger and distrust.


To even begin repairing the dangerous breach between the community and law enforcement, the authorities must immediately release the police video of the deadly encounter, especially after what we learned Monday morning:


Police shot the 21-year-old African American three times – from behind.


They shot him in the back of the head, neck and lower back.


Anyone of the three shots could have been the kill shot – the one that ended his life.


We know these chilling facts not because the police in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover where Bradford was killed are being transparent. They are not and have not been since Bradford died in a pool of blood and police falsely stated he initiated the shooting that led to his death. 


 We know the facts about the last moments of Bradford’s life because his family and their lawyers held a news conference Monday and revealed the results of a privately-commissioned autopsy on the young man called E.J. by his friends and family.


I delivered the eulogy for E.J. on Saturday here in his hometown of Birmingham. E.J.’s family asked me to stand with them at the news conference. His mother wisely stayed away, fearing that what she heard there would be too graphic and painful for her shattered heart to take.


She was right.


One of the bullets, E.J.’s father, Emantic F. Bradford, Sr., said, “lodged in my son’s throat. My son couldn’t even cry out for help.”


The family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, said the autopsy shows “without any doubt whatsoever, E.J. Bradford, Jr. was shot three times from the back, while he was moving away from police.”


Crump said E.J. was not running from the police. He was fleeing the gunfire. As witnesses “have verified that everybody” else in the mall was doing the same thing – running for their lives.


E.J. was armed but had a conceal carry permit. Witnesses say he was trying to help people to safety when police arrived, opening fire and killing the wrong man.


We have been here before – too many times.


Trayvon Martin was shot and killed walking home.


Michael Brown was shot, and his body was left to rot in the middle of a Ferguson street.


In Chicago, there were16 shots and a 400-day coverup of the murder of Laquan McDonald.


I understand – and share – the sense of pain and anger about the violent death of E.J. And I say to those who would protest, do so in a non-violent and disciplined way.


Do not do anything to diminish the moral authority of E.J. Do not do anything to embarrass his family.


As for the police, do your job. Serve and protect. And release the tapes.




Don Terry


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.