A Black man killed at an Alabama mall by police on Thanksgiving was shot three times from behind, an independent autopsy found, according to NPR.
Lawyers for the family of Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr. said the autopsy results show that Bradford had his back to the officers. “We believe, based on this forensic evidence, that this officer should be charged with a crime,” said attorney Ben Crump.
Bradford’s autopsy, which was commissioned by the family, shows that he was shot in the head, neck and lower back; the shot to the head killed him.
“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. “If that was anybody else who shot somebody three times in the back, it would be justified that they be charged with murder.”
On Thanksgiving, cops responded to gunshots at Riverchase Galleria Mall in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover; an 18-year-old man and 12-year-old were shot. Bradford was reportedly not involved in the shooting, but police initially identified him as the suspect.
Erron Martez Dequan Brown was identified as the suspect and was arrested last week.
Bradford’s father said his son had a legal permit to carry the weapon, according to NBC News. Officials confirmed that Bradford had a gun but should not have had it out.
“We can say with certainty Mr. 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,” Hoover police and city officials said in a statement to NBC.
Bradford’s family and the Rev. Jesse Jackson have called for officers to release footage of the incident and to release the official autopsy, according to NPR.