Feb. 6 (UPI) — The Alabama police officer who shot and killed a man he mistook for the gunman during a Black Friday shooting at a mall will not face charges, according to a report by the state’s attorney general’s office.
The attorney general’s report, released Tuesday, stated the Hoover Police Department officer “reasonably exercised” his power when he shot Emantic “E.J.” Bradford, 21, in the back three times after he saw him holding a gun near a man who had just been shot, The Washington Post reported.
It also stated the officer viewed Bradford as “an immediate deadly threat to innocent civilians,” although Bradford didn’t fire his gun.
“Today took us by surprise. Some were expecting today’s outcome; some weren’t,” Iva Williams, of the Birmingham Justice League said. “But nevertheless, we stay united in seeking social justice moving forward.”
The report detailed the events surrounding the shooting, which began when 20-year-old Erron Brown allegedly shot 18-year-old Brian Wilson on the second floor of the mall outside of a JC Penny store.
Bradford was initially running away from the store, but later turned around with his gun drawn and approached the area near Wilson as the officer and his partner stood a few feet behind him.
According to the report, the officer didn’t see Brown running away in the chaos after the shooting and believed Bradford was approaching the bleeding Wilson to kill him, so he fired four shots, striking Bradford in the head, neck and lower back.
Witnesses said they heard the officer tell Bradford to drop his weapon, but the officer said he was unable to issue verbal commands because of the “quickness of the event.” He also said there was “no time” to activate his body camera.
The report stated the officer’s actions were consistent with nationally accepted standards for scenarios involving active shooters and that the officer mistaking Bradford for the shooter “does not render his actions unreasonable.”
“First, a reasonable person could have assumed that the only person with a gun who was running toward the victim of a shooting that occurred just three seconds earlier fired the shots,” the report stated.
Bradford’s family and activists reacted to the attorney general’s decision outside the Hoover City Hall building on Tuesday.
“He did not deserve what you did to him. You shoot my first born son three times, three kill shots and you call this justice. How dare you. If this happened to your child, would you still call it justice? Because I don’t see any justice in this,” Bradford’s mother, April Pipkins, said.
In protest of the decision, organizer Carlos Chaverst spray painted “Black lives don’t matter” on two American flags and set them on fire in front of the building.
“This is what it’s like to be black in America,” said Chaverst. “How could you pledge allegiance to something that doesn’t care about your life? This flag means nothing to me.”