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/ Source: Associated Press
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ̵
Jackson said the Hoover police officer, who shot the "EJ" Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 21, "has to face justice" and called on the authorities to release tapes of the shootings. "Nobody is above the law," Jackson said.
The officer killed Bradford on Thanksgiving night when he responded to a shoot at the Riverchase Galleria Mall. The authorities initially identified Bradford as the shooter, but withdrew this allegation and searched for the real shooter who had wounded two people that night.
Bradford's family members said he had permission to carry a gun legally, and their lawyer cited witnesses as Bradford was trying to help when he was shot down.
Bradford's death triggered a week of protests in Hoover demanding the release of surveillance videos of the shoot.
"We will have the tape made public," Jackson said, applauding the applause. "We want transparency, not cover-up, tell the whole story, tell it now, we want justice now, we want fairness now."
The Hoover Police Department has handed over footage of the shootout to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, which is investigating. The city has not published any information about the officers involved, but said the person who fired the fatal shot had been disabled during the investigation.
Jackson said Bradford will not be forgotten and promised to continue fighting for further information about the shooting.
"Innocent blood has power," he said.
Jackson referred to the long history of civil rights in Birmingham and Alabama and the recent Black Lives Matter movement. He preached about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and the four little girls who were killed in a bomb attack at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. He also listed some of the black men killed by the police in recent high-profile incidents, including Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and Philando Castile.
"In the images of these battles and the bloodshed, EJ Bradford joins these ranks," said Jackson.
Before the eulogy, many Bradford's friends paid tribute to him and reminded him of being a generous and loyal person who always thought of others.
"Everyone called EJ," a friend said. "He was always on call."
His father, Emantic Bradford Sr., who fights cancer, said when he was diagnosed, he saw a change in his son.
"When I got sick, I knew my son was turning the corner and started to be responsible," he said. "The shoe was on the other foot and he started looking for me, my child was a good kid."
He burst into tears when he spoke of losing his son, whom he had not recognized. "He had touched so many lives."
"The years I spent with him were 21 good years," his dad said. "To this day he will always be my hero, I miss my baby and his mother misses him too."
The funeral took place on a cloudy Saturday morning at the Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham. The mourners wept as they stopped in front of Bradford's open casket. More than 1,000 people came to the facility to honor his life and his memory.