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Alabama Police Shot Innocent Man Three Times From the Back, Independent Autopsy Says

Meanwhile, the officers involved can't get their stories straight.

Screenshot via WBRCScreenshot via WBRCNew revelations have come to light regarding the Thanksgiving Day police shooting of Emantic Bradford, Jr., in Alabama. According to an independent autopsy ordered by Bradford's family, the results of which were released Monday, Bradford was shot three times from the back.

WBRC reports that:

Family attorney Benjamin Crump said at a Monday morning press conference that Bradford was shot in the back of the right side of his skull and the bullet exited through his left eye. It initially appeared that he was shot in the face.

The second bullet entered his neck and lodged in his tonsils, according to the report.

The report said the third shot entered the right side of Bradford's hip area, moving through his hip bone and stopping in his abdominal wall.

The independent autopsy was carried out by Dr. Roger Mitchell, chief medical examiner for Washington, D.C. "The cause of death is gunshot wound of the head," Crump wrote in a document provided to media at the press conference, according to AL.com. "The manner of death is homicide."

Crump said the autopsy suggests Bradford was running away when he was shot. "There's nothing that justifies [the officer] shooting EJ as he's moving away from him. You're not a threat when you're running away," Crump said at the press conference, CNN reported.

As I noted last week, it's still unclear what happened that led police working security to shoot and kill Bradford. However, police have had a tough time getting their story straight. We do know there was a prior shooting that injured two people at the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, Alabama, where thousands of people were kicking off the holiday shopping season.

The scene turned chaotic when a gunman opened fire, injuring an 18-year-old man and a 12-year-old girl. At some point, Bradford took his gun out. He may not have been the only one, as AL.com reported that "several shoppers were seen with their guns drawn."

Bradford was quickly shot, and police pinned the initial shooting on him. Two days later, they admitted "that while Mr. Bradford may have been involved in some aspect of the altercation, he likely did not fire the rounds that injured the 18-year-old victim." The 12-year-old who was shot is believed to have been an "innocent bystander," police said.

Last Monday, the police department and the city of Hoover claimed "with certainty" that "Bradford brandished a gun during the seconds following the gunshots, which instantly heightened the sense of threat to approaching police officers responding to the chaotic scene." They seemed to be suggesting Bradford shouldn't have pulled out his gun in the first place, though his father claims Bradford had a permit for the handgun.

Later that day, police clarified that by claiming Bradford had "brandished" his gun, they really meant he "had a gun in his hand," not that he was necessarily threatening people with it.

On Thursday, police finally arrested a suspect in the original shooting.

Local law enforcement, meanwhile, are refusing to release evidence—including video footage—regarding the shooting. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), which is investigating the incident, does not want to risk "compromising the justice process for everyone involved,'' Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis said in a statement this morning.

Following the release of the independent autopsy, the ALEA encouraged Crump ad the Bradford family to send them the results. An officlal autopsy has been completed as well, but Jefferson County Chief Deputy Coroner Bill Yates told CNN Monay that he couldn't comment on it due to the ongoing investigation.

Photo Credit: Screenshot via WBRC

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  • Hank Phillips||

    Black guy shot multiple times in the back by cops in the Alabama town of Hoover? How could that possibly be anything but accidental or in self-defense? Today's customs agents would--faced with the 1929 "fatal shooting" of Henry Virkula--swear vehemently that he had put his flivver in reverse and tried to run them town right there in their bushwhacker ambush dry-gulches.

  • 3rd Batt Ranger||

    How could it possibly be he was the 10th person shot by cops in AL this year AND he's only the 2nd black guy shot...surely this means racism, it's the only answer for idiots

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), which is investigating the incident, does not want to risk "compromising the justice process for everyone involved,'' Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis said in a statement this morning.

    Of course, they had no problem tossing around the word brandishing before the investigation was complete.

  • Chipper Jones||

    Dude's name is Nick Derzis. Obvious covert Nazi is obvious.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    They don't want to risk compromising the justice process for everyone involved, just for the innocent victim of trigger happy cops.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Atticus vs rabid dog.

  • Longtobefree||

    A through shot to the head, a shot that only got halfway through the neck (to the tonsils), and a shot that went through bone. What kind of weapons do the use in Hoover?

  • Chipper Jones||

    Standard issue Mannlicher-Carcanos.

  • DenverJ||

    Too soon

  • Longtobefree||

    I remember those; never fired, only dropped once, right?

  • LiborCon||

    The 6.5mm Carcano round is well known for its ability to change direction. One bullet is able to hit multiple targets.

  • crufus||

    Maybe one shot cause all three wounds.

  • JFree||

    So apparently the only thing that can stop a bad black with a back is a good guy with a gun.

    Damn that must be a hella tough slogan to figure out in the Bama burbs.

  • Rich||

    "You're not a threat when you're running away,"

    "unless, of course, you're a suicide bomber."

  • Ben of Houston||

    No, then they would be running towards you.

  • Longtobefree||

    Well, in fairness, the full phrase usually reads " . . . a danger to yourself OR OTHERS . . . . "
    He could have been perceived as running toward another part of the crowd?
    (Never mind that in that case the shots would have been against an unsafe background)

  • sharmota4zeb||

    We need more citizens observing the courts so that cops know that public will look at what happens first hand.

  • Curly4||

    I have come to the conclusion that police training is the problem in so many shootings and maybe the police that they are hiring are afraid that they will die or maybe both. All to often the police are more ready to shoot than to know target in front of them is the real target. In most cases the police are ready and usually do empty their weapon without stopping. That cannot be a safe way to react. In this case the police showed more restraint that that but apparently he shot the victim in the back. That indicates that the victim could not have been a threat at the time of being shot.
    A nation wide review of the training and the continuing training these officers under with recommendations for changing for new training.

  • ipsquire||

    Training is no more the problem with the police than it is with Starbucks employees handling bathroom use issues. Recruiting is the issue, and both public image and pay are to blame, contributing to the downward spiral. Not unlike public education - we need some market forces to make teaching and police work more attractive to smart and capable people. Lifetime tax refunds for government workers who get to retirement with a good record would be perfect if the public employee unions didn't already cover most of the upside while preventing the downside.

  • My Dog Bites Better Than Yours||

    In this case the police showed more restraint that that but apparently he shot the victim in the back

    We only know how many times the victim was hit, not how many were fired and missed.

  • DajjaI||

    If you pull your gun out at a crime scene you're likely to get shot at. If they didn't teach you this at your firearms training course then you need to go get your money back. If you say you are pulling out your gun to 'protect' me, then please don't. I much prefer you keep it in your pants. #livebythegundiebythegun

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Just make sure you wear some kind of sign on your clothing to identify you as a "don't protect me". I promise to abide by your wishes.

  • EscherEnigma||

    So how are you supposed to be a "good guy with a gun" if you can't pull out your gun lest you become a "bad guy with a gun"?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Even the Clontons couldnt find assassins that shot 3 TIMES in the back!

  • IceTrey||

    None of that proves he was running away only that he was facing away. Shooting someone in the back if they are shooting up a mall is perfectly acceptable. The cops not making sure that's who they are shooting is unacceptable. Will they get in trouble, of course not.

  • Velvet Thunder||

    After listening to the Crime Scene episode of This American Life the other day, I would caution against putting too much weight on the independent autopsy. The official autopsy is done first, and they completely disassemble the body - drain the blood, remove and dissect all of the organs, including the eyes, remove the bullets, etc. - before it's sent to an independent examiner. To use a poultry analogy, the original autopsy is done on the chicken in it's original state, the independent one is done on the frozen chicken you'd buy in a grocery store with some extra body parts in evidence bags. Unsurprisingly, this often leads to wildly different autopsy results.

  • JulesE||

    As a resident of Hoover (California transplant), I just need to say this - There have been unjustifiable police shootings all around this country between police and civilians that have even less provocation than this one. I am certainly not defending the officers involved - they were trigger happy and clearly had no idea how to handle their panic in a situation that demanded calm and rational decision-making. But to the people that are saying, "Oh, of course this happened - Alabama hates minorities and racist cops are everywhere and blah blah blah", you are ignoring and minimizing the fact that this is a nationwide (dare I say) epidemic and has sadly very little to do with geography.

  • 3rd Batt Ranger||

    And, I will add, we hicks in Hoover as well as AL and other Southern States have, by factors, moved much further ahead WRT to race relations than any great blue utopia anyone cares to name. Its rather simple to read the comments and determine just how stuck on stupid many non Southern and enlighten the world progressives are much, much dumber than a pet rock from the 80;s that is still alive today.

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