‘It could have been me’

Students reflect on recent justification of Riverchase Galleria police shooting on November 2

Allison Brown
CityLifestyle Reporter

After a shot rang out in the Hoover Riverchase Galleria mall on November 22, Emantic (E.J.) Bradford pulled out his legally owned weapon, according to a report from the Attorney General’s office. 

The Attorney General’s reports said an off-duty police officer (referred to as “Officer 1”) saw 21-year-old black male (Bradford) with his weapon, thought he was the shooter, and fired three times. These shots killed Bradford. 

On February 5, Steve Marshall, Alabama Attorney General, said that Officer 1 was justified in his actions

“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,” according to a report from the Alabama Attorney General’s office, which was published February 5. 

austin helmers cmyk

Austin Helmers, junior in theatre.

“That night, I was there an hour before it happened, and then my mom was texting me saying, ‘You have to come home, oh my gosh!’ I’m not shocked that something like that happened here, because there’s serious race issues in this city.

I heard when it came out, and I was surprised that they came to a verdict so soon.

I guess in certain situations, it’s hard to discern who’s shooting and who’s not.”

kiana spears cmyk

Kiana Spears, freshman in kinesiology.

“I kind of have mixed emotions about it, because if it was usually in a crime situation like that, they would have a description of a suspect… but if that wasn’t the case then I think that there may have been a racial motivation.

It’s definitely an issue and definitely something to be worried about. I’m from Chicago, so I saw a lot of issues in my city and around my neighborhood. It’s something we need to buckle down on to figure out what we can do to ensure the officers’ safety, but also ensure that the officers fulfil their role as community leaders and, kind of, community security guards.”

It kind of makes me feel unsafe, to a degree.”


kristen decker cmyk

Kristen Decker, senior in secondary education.

“It’s a hard situation. That’s just a hard choice for anybody to make in that situation.

It makes me feel a little bit scared. I believe the police officer was acting in his best interest and that he believed Bradford to be the shooter. I would like to believe that it wasn’t as racially motivated, but it may have been. It may not have been, there’s no way to tell.

He just saw a man with a gun and assumed him to be the shooter. It just makes me wonder what the police officer would have done if he had been a white man, and how the situation might not have escalated to the point of shooting. But it does make me concerned for the future, especially if all these shootings end up being justified.”


mary stein cmyk

Mary Stein, sophomore in pre-nursing.

"I think the cop is definitely in the wrong, and I think there’s definitely way too many of those situations. They should be better trained and trained on racial prejudice.Police brutality is an issue that definitely needs to be addressed. 

I know that’s not fair to people of color. Obviously, I’m white, but it has nothing to do with me. It has to do with everyone else too.

A lot of people are fine with decisions 
as long as it doesn’t affect them, but I know personally people of color who have been pulled over and treated horribly by cops when they were totally in the right."


darius wynne cmyk

Darius Wynne, UAB Alumni.

“I think that’s a completely wrong judgement call, because in Alabama we have the right to carry a gun, and I feel like he was just profiled because of how he looked. He was also shot in the back, and there’s no reason to be shot in the back three times, especially when you’re not even sure that was the suspect.  Honestly, I feel like it could have been me, or it could have been one of my peers. I think we need to screen our officers better.  I feel like we’re not doing enough tests with mental training, to see what kind of prejudices these people may have before they get to become a police officer.It’s one thing for the action to happen, and it’s another thing for them to justify it and say everything is A-OK.” 


jesus gomez cmyk

Jesus Gomez, junior in biology.

“Of course [the officer] had to act on instinct, because if he was a potential shooter. But then again, it's one of those situations where I don’t know what to say about it because what made [the officer] think that he was the potential shooter?He wasn’t the initial shooter, and his fate is that he died, and now they’re justifying it and saying that everything is okay. I think it’s scary.”


bethany jackson cmyk

Bethany Jackson, sophomore in biomedical sciences.

“I’m just concerned about this same situation happening again, where someone who was innocent, who was using their right to defend themselves, was wrongfully killed.In some instances, it seems that it would be justified, but once you take a closer look, you can see that it definitely was not justified. In those instances, it’s hard to tell who’s the perpetrator and who’s the person that is trying to de-escalate the situation.Police brutality is definitely a pressing issue, especially now that more people are bringing awareness to it.Maybe we have internal biases that we don’t really think about, especially in life or death situations.”


Donquarious Hudson, sophomore in pre-nursing 

“I disagree with the ruling. I can understand in a way what the officer was thinking, but three shots in the back was too much. I think police should be better trained. I don’t feel like you should be a police officer if you’re scared of the people you’re supposed to be protecting. Your job is to protect them and serve. 

It’s happening everywhere. It puts us on edge more and more. At what point does it stop? When does it change? What do we have to do? It’s scary really.”


Photos by Drew Crenshaw/Staff Photographer

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