An Alabama police officer will not be criminally charged for killing a young black man whom he had mistaken for the gunman in a shopping mall shooting Thanksgiving night, the state attorney general’s office said Tuesday.
The shooting death of Emantic F. Bradford Jr., 21, at the Riverchase Galleria mall in Hoover, Ala., incited protests and raised questions about whether police officers are too quick to assume that a nonwhite person who is armed is a wrongdoer.
In a 24-page report, Attorney General Steve Marshall concluded that the Hoover police officer — identified only as Officer 1 — who shot Mr. Bradford had “reasonably exercised” his duties.
“Officer 1’s actions were reasonable under the circumstances and were consistent with his training and nationally accepted standards for ‘active shooter’ scenarios,” the report stated.
The police officer shot Mr. Bradford, who went by E.J., a few seconds after gunshots had rung out at the mall on Nov. 22, sending shoppers racing for safety and leaving an 18-year-old man, Brian Wilson, injured by two bullets.
The officer, who was on duty at the mall, said in a statement that he had turned toward the sound of the gunfire with his weapon drawn, and saw an injured man clutching his stomach near a railing, with another man helping him. He said he also saw “an armed suspect” who was “quickly moving towards the two males standing near the railing.”
“The suspect was advancing on the two males and had a black handgun in his right hand,” the officer said. “I fired my duty weapon at the armed suspect to stop him.” That man was Mr. Bradford.
The officer said that he thought Mr. Bradford was going to kill the two men. He also said he was unable to issue verbal commands before firing, “due to the quickness of the event and the immediate threat Bradford posed” to the two men he was approaching.
The police later arrested another man — Erron Martez Dequan Brown, 20 — and charged him with attempted murder in connection with the shooting of Mr. Wilson, the injured man by the railing.
The attorney general’s report said there was no evidence that Mr. Bradford’s handgun was fired at the mall.