BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A man killed by police who mistook him for a suspect in an Alabama shopping mall on Thanksgiving night was standing over a shooting victim with a gun drawn moments before he was fatally wounded, a defense attorney said Thursday.
Details of the video surrounding the police shooting of Emantic "EJ" Bradford Jr., 21, came out during a hearing for Erron Brown, 20, who is charged with attempted murder in the gunfire that preceded the killing.
With a state police investigator, Pete DaCosta, on the stand, Brown's attorney, Charles Salvagio, suggested that surveillance video showed Bradford standing with a gun after Brian Wilson was shot and wounded at a mall in Hoover, a suburb of Birmingham. The shooting came at the start of holiday shopping.
Within moments, police shot and killed Bradford, whose death sparked days of protests.
Outside court, the state attorney general's office said DaCosta did not agree to Salvagio's description of what the video showed.
Roosevelt Poole, a friend of Brown, testified that two groups of men met up at the mall near a shoe store after Bradford sent him a Facebook message asking about their location.
As the groups came together, Poole said, Bradford shook his hand. About the same time, a smiling Wilson punched or slapped Brown in the face.
Eric Parker, who was with Poole and Brown, testified he saw Bradford move forward about the same time and appear to be pulling out a gun as shots rang out. People scattered after the gunfire, and Parker said he heard more shots as he fled — possibly the sound of police shooting Bradford.
Police shot Bradford three times on the back side of his body, a medical review released by his family found. Attorneys for his parents have portrayed Bradford as a "good guy with a gun" who was trying to protect others when police killed him.
But the attorney for Brown, Salvagio, argued that his client fired in self-defense after a confrontation sparked in part by Bradford.
"If they put on the evidence we hear today, the grand jury isn't going to indict (Brown)," Salvagio told Judge William A. Bell Jr.
Assistant Attorney General Andrew Arrington argued that prosecutors had enough evidence for a grand jury to consider indicting Brown in Wilson's shooting, and the judge agreed.
The judge also agreed with a defense request to lower Brown's bail from $125,000 to $60,000.
Brown was arrested at a relative's home near Atlanta days after the shooting. He has remained in jail since.