By Anna Beahm
Protesters demanding answers in the Thanksgiving shooting death of E.J. Bradford on Tuesday night stopped traffic on U.S. 31 and marched to the Riverchase Galleria.
The protest first began outside Hoover City Hall around 6 p.m. and continued down U.S. 31 to the Riverchase Galleria--the place where Bradford was fatally shot by a Hoover police officer Thanksgiving night.
The protesters gathered to say they want to hold law enforcement to a higher standard. "This is just one step in the process to bring attention to these issues," said activist Carlos Chaverst Jr. They are also calling to boycott the Galleria mall and for a "real apology" to Bradford's family. Protesters said they weren't satisfied by Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato's statement he read earlier Monday night.
They're asking for the Hoover Police Department to release video from the police body cameras and mall surveillance cameras for public review. Earlier Monday night, Brocato said in a prepared statement "there's honestly not a lot we can say at this point since the investigation is not in the city's hands."
Brocato said the video is now in the hands of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, which is investigating the officer-involved shooting. "All video evidence was immediately transferred to outside investigating agencies. It now resides with ALEA, and they will determine what it will be released," he said in the statement.
After about an hour of different speakers sharing at the protest outside Hoover City Hall, Chaverst told protesters to block U.S. 31 in front of city hall. Soon after, protesters began walking down U.S. 31 South toward the Galleria.
As they approached the Galleria, protesters chanted "stop shopping here," and "no justice, no peace, no racist police," "Say his name! E-J!" They entered the mall and marched up to the Footaction, where the fight broke out that resulted in E.J. being fatally shot by a Hoover police officer.
While marching back from the Galleria, protesters were met by the Bradford family attorney Benjamin Crump and some of EJ's family members, including his mother.
"I feel good I feel like we're going to get justice that we need for this family. I feel confident. I feel we have been heard a little bit. I feel like they're going to get it," Chaverst said as protesters left the mall.
No injuries or arrests were reported as part of Monday night's demonstrations.
Earlier tonight, faith leaders met at Veterans Park to call for the faith community to stand on solidarity with the Bradford family.
"These are not problems that we can help by claiming that we do not see color. These are not problems that we can fix by claiming that all lives matter or claiming that someone is pulling the race card when they tell us about their experience about living as a black person in this country," said David Barnhart, pastor of Saint Junia Church. "White church goers need to understand that this is not something that goes away just because you try to treat everyone the same."
Another pastor, Ja'Mel Brown, pastor and community activist in Montgomery, also called on the faith community to stand for justice.
"If Jesus was here today, he would be with us," Brown said.
The Hoover City Council has called a special meeting set for 12:15 p.m. at the city council chambers. The meeting is open to the public, but city officials said the city council plans to hold an executive session "to discuss pending or threatening litigation."
Another event will be held at 6:30 p.m. at 16th Street Baptist Church Tuesday. Ben Crump will be there to answer the public's questions about what's going on with the case, organizers said.
On Friday, a gathering will be held at New Hope Baptist Church on Cleburn Avenue at 6 p.m. Organizers say the gathering will serve as a place for people to come together and mourn or talk with others who have been affected by the events of Thanksgiving night.
(c)2018 Alabama Media Group, Birmingham