Over 1,000 people were in attendance at Boutwell Memorial Auditorium in Birmingham, Ala., on Saturday to mourn Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. and demand justice regarding his police-related death. Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. accompanied the family and delivered the eulogy.
“Say,” Jackson instructed the mourners, “We will have the tape made public.”
They repeated his words.
“We want transparency, not cover-up,”
said Jackson. “Tell the whole story. Tell it now. We want justice now.”
spoke of the long history of civil rights in Birmingham, and mentioned the current Black Lives Matter movement as well as Black males killed by police.
Jackson said Bradford joined “the victims of racial violence across the U.S.”
“The list of victims of this sickness of uncontrolled violence fueled by racism and political indifference is much too long,” he said. “The officer who took Emantic’s life and snuffed out his dream must face justice.”
“Innocent blood has power,” Jackson
Bradford was shot and killed by police prior to Black Friday at the Riverchase Galleria shopping mall in Hoover, Ala., after initially being the suspect of a shooting the same night that injured two people. He was actually trying to save people from the shooter.
Emantic Bradford Sr. spoke of how his son changed when he was diagnosed with cancer: “When I got sick, I knew then my son turned the corner and started being responsible,” said Bradford Sr. “The shoe was on the other foot. He started checking on me. My child was a good child.”
“Even a young Black man with no criminal record serving as a caregiver for his father is still a threat,” Jackson
said. He described the shooting as the “violent death of another innocent son wrapped in black skin.”
In a press conference shortly before noon on Monday where Benjamin Crump revealed the medical review of Bradford’s body, Jackson echoed his sentiments on the need for transparency, fairness and justice now.
“Do not diminish the moral authority of EJ,” he said directed to law enforcement authorities. “Don’t embarrass the family. Don’t make any act that undermines the legal process.”
The forensic results showed Bradford was shot three times in the back while he was running away. “Each shot was a kill shot,” Jackson said. “Three shots and a cover-up. The longer there is a sense of cover-up, there is a sense of protest.”
He continued his comments to those activists that are protesting, just as a long line of activists before them: “Protest mightily and nonviolently. Do not let the actions discredit the victim.”
Alabama law enforcement says releasing video footage is premature, but police were real quick to release inaccurate information about the wrongly accused and dead Black hero.
“The Second Amendment was not made for Black folks,” said Noah.
In an interview prior to the funeral, the Reverend blamed Trump for the culture of division and a lack of national policy regarding the release of body cam video.
“It’s tough when the president is a white nationalist. They’re fighting for nationalist power.” Jackson also said these are “officers of the state” that are killing Black men.
“The killing of Bradford must be a source of strength do not fight fire with fire. We must never forget Bradford We must never surrender in the face of this dark hour.”
Reader Question: Since Bradford was shot in the back while moving away from officers, do you think criminal charges will be filed against police