Family of black man misidentified as shooting suspect and killed by policeman to file lawsuit

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Parents of a black man who was killed by police who mistook him for a shooting suspect at an Alabama shopping mall said they were filing a federal lawsuit Friday, the first anniversary of his death.

The parents of 21-year-old Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr. joined lawyers at a news conference announcing the suit accusing police and officials in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover, where the fatal shooting occurred, of violating his civil rights.

A statement from the city denied that police or municipal officials did anything wrong.

Bradford had a gun, but relatives described him as a “good guy” assisting others after someone else opened fire. Family attorneys contend the officer wrongly failed to give a verbal warning, resulting in Bradford’s death while he was exercising his Second Amendment rights.

Alabama’s attorney general cleared officers of any wrongdoing, and the Justice Department didn’t bring federal charges.

The shooting and subsequent actions by city and state officials led to weeks of protests after Bradford’s death.

April Pipkins, Bradford’s mother, said the family was still hurting.

“This time last year the Pipkins and Bradford families suffered a great loss. This lawsuit is to bring change so that no one else has to go through this,” Pipkins said.

Emantic Bradford Sr. said he remains a “hateful father” over what happened.

“I think about my son every day,” he said.

A Hoover police officer shot Bradford after mistaking him for the person who fired shots at Alabama’s largest shopping mall on Thanksgiving night last year.

While authorities have not publicly identified the officer who shot Bradford, family attorneys said the suit could force officials to release the shooter’s name.

The city said it would defend itself against “false allegations” in the lawsuit.

“After all evidence is presented, no wrongdoing by the city or any of our officers will be shown,” the city said in its statement.