Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall ruled Tuesday the Hoover police officer who shot and killed E.J, Bradford was justified in the shooting Thanksgiving night at the Riverchase Galleria.
From the report:
“After an extensive investigation and review, the Attorney General has determined that (the officer) did not commit a crime under Alabama law when he shot and killed E.J. Bradford and thus the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct preclude presentation of this case to a grand jury.”
Two shooting incidents occurred inside the Riverchase Galleria mall in Hoover (“the Galleria”) on November 22, 2018. The first incident occurred at approximately 9:51 p.m. when Erron Brown shot 18-year-old Brian Wilson, twice. The second incident occurred approximately five seconds later when, in response to the initial two gunshots, Officer (“Officer 1”) shot and killed Emantic (“E.J.”) Bradford, Jr., a 21-year-old male who was running toward the initial shooter and victim with a firearm visibly in hand. This report focuses solely on the second incident, specifically, whether Officer 1 should be criminally charged for shooting E.J. Bradford. (A separate investigation and prosecution of the first shooting continues.) After an extensive investigation and review, the Attorney General has determined that Officer 1 did not commit a crime under Alabama law when he shot and killed E.J. Bradford and thus the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct preclude presentation of this case to a grand jury. This report details how and why the Attorney General reached this conclusion. Part I briefly explains the Attorney General’s decision. Part II details the State’s investigation and the evidence collected. Finally, Part III provides a detailed application of Alabama law to the evidence presented in Part II and explains why the facts do not warrant criminal charges against Officer 1. I. SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS Rule 3.8(1)(a) of the Alabama Rules for Professional Conduct dictates that “the prosecutor in a criminal case shall refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supportable by probable cause.” Section 13A-3-22 of the Code of Alabama (1975) dictates that “conduct which would otherwise constitute an offense is justifiable and not criminal when it … is performed by a public servant in the reasonable exercise of his official powers, duties, or functions.” (emphasis added). Thus, a threshold question exists: Did Officer 1 reasonably exercise his official powers, duties, or functions when he shot E.J. Bradford? If the answer to that question is “yes,” then Alabama law declares the shooting “not criminal” and thus the Rules of Professional Conduct dictate the prosecutor “shall refrain” from seeking criminal charges. If the answer is “no,” then the prosecutor may seek criminal charges under the appropriate criminal statute(s), if any. The facts of this case demonstrate that Officer 1 reasonably exercised his official powers, duties, or functions when he shot E.J. Bradford. Officer 1 and his partner (“Officer 2”) were on duty in the Galleria when they heard two gunshots approximately 75 feet away. Page 2 of 24 AG REPORT | OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING OF E.J. BRADFORD Officers 1 and 2 immediately moved toward the gunshots. Within three seconds, they encountered E.J. Bradford, who held a firearm in a ready position, then charged forward:
Several persons were in Bradford’s path. Immediately before him, Brian Wilson lay on the ground, bleeding from his gunshot wounds, and 18-year-old (“AC”) stood over Wilson. Beyond them, Erron Brown (the initial shooter) and his companions were running into JC Penney, while several innocent bystanders were scrambling for cover:
Officer 1 identified E.J. Bradford as an immediate deadly threat to innocent civilians and thus shot Bradford to eliminate the threat. Officer 1’s actions were reasonable under the circumstances and were consistent with his training and nationally-accepted standards for “active shooter” scenarios. Accordingly, Officer 1’s actions do not constitute a crime under Alabama law, see Ala. Code § 13A-3-22, and therefore should not be presented to a grand jury for potential criminal prosecution. See Rule 3.8(a), Alabama Rules for Professional Conduct.