Emantic Bradford Jr: Alabama man killed ‘shot three times in back’ by local police; POW! POW! POW!

A man wrongly killed by police in an Alabama mall was shot three times from behind, an autopsy has revealed.

Emantic Bradford Jr, known as EJ, was shot in the head, neck and hip at the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, Alabama.

Police had identified him as the gunman in the shooting of an 18-year-old man and 12-year-old girl last month.

But they later admitted they were mistaken and have since arrested another man. Erron Brown, 20, handed himself in to police.

According to an autopsy requested by Bradford’s family, a police officer shot the 21-year-old three times from behind.

Benjamin Crump, the lawyer representing Bradford’s family, reportedly told a news conference that based on the autopsy, “this officer should be charged with a crime”.

“There’s nothing that justifies him shooting EJ as he’s moving away from him.”

The officer responsible has been placed on administrative leave, and an investigation is under way.

Riverside Galleria in Hoover, AlabamaThe shooting took place at the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, Alabama

However, authorities have given scant details about the case, and are refusing to release body camera footage of the incident.

In a joint statement reported by broadcaster ABC News, Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato and police chief Nicklaus Derzis said disclosing such evidence could “jeopardise the integrity” of the investigation.

Bradford was carrying a weapon at the time of the shooting, for which he had a permit. Police said he “heightened the sense of threat” at the scene by drawing his gun after shots rang out at the mall.

Under Alabama gun law, it is not illegal to carry a gun in public, but the Riverchase Galleria prohibits firearms on its premises.

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New Hampshire man dead after being shot by Old Town police officer

Adrian Bunker, 37, of Merrimack, New Hampshire was driving a gray Chevy Silverado pickup truck when he was shot by an officer, according to police.

Officer Joseph Decato of the Old Town Police department is on paid administrative leave and is pending review of the Old Town Police department.

The Attorney General’s office is on scene investigating.

No other details are available at this time. Old Town Police refused to answer reporters questions at a press conference on Thursday.

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U.S. Border Patrol Fires Tear Gas at Families Seeking Asylum!

H1 border patrol tear gas

In Tijuana, Mexico, U.S. border patrol officers fired tear gas Sunday into a crowd of desperate Central American asylum seekers as they tried to push their way through the heavily militarized border with the United States. Among those attacked were mothers and small children, who were left gagging and screaming as tear gas spread. Mexican federal police officers in riot gear moved in and arrested dozens of the migrants; Mexico’s government says they’ll be deported to Central America. The group had broken away from a peaceful protest of thousands of migrants demanding entry to the U.S. where they hoped to win asylum. The migrants are from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, and are fleeing widespread violence, poverty and mass unemployment. This is 37-year-old Honduran asylum seeker Saúl Hernández.

Saúl Hernández: “My message to the United States president is not to scare people, because he’s showing Mexico that he has the military power. He’s also frightening Mexico. Please remove your troops.”

In response, the Trump administration temporarily closed the San Ysidro border crossing, one of the busiest ports of entry in the world, with more than 90,000 people crossing each day. Meanwhile, the administration of Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador denied it had made any deal with the Trump administration to force asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their U.S. asylum claims are processed. The denial contradicts tweets by President Trump and a report in the Washington Post on Saturday.

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Alabama police admit killing wrong man after mall shooting

Protesters outside Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, AlabamaDemonstrators demanded justice for Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr

Protesters have demanded answers after Alabama police admitted killing a man who they wrongly suspected of shooting two people in a shopping mall.

Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr, 21, was shot dead at the mall in Hoover.

But on Friday, authorities said Bradford was probably not the gunman, and the actual perpetrator remained at large.

Around 200 demonstrators marched in the Riverchase Galleria on Saturday demanding answers from the police.

“Where is the bodycam footage — why we ain’t seen it yet?” one protester said to CBS News.

The policeman who killed Bradford has reportedly been placed on administrative leave.

According to FBI data, a disproportionately high proportion of police shootings in the US involve black people.

What happened at the mall?

The shooting occurred on Thanksgiving night on Thursday.

Police arrived at the scene after an 18-year-old and a 12-year-old were shot by a gunman, as shoppers ran for their lives. The condition of the two victims has not been made public, but both were reportedly treated in hospital.

Authorities announced on Thursday that Bradford was the gunman, and had been brandishing a weapon. A uniformed officer then shot him to death.

Riverside Galleria in Hoover, AlabamaThe shooting took place on the night of Thanksgiving

However, that story changed on Friday evening when police admitted their initial report was “not totally accurate”.

“New evidence now suggests that while Mr Bradford may have been involved in some aspect of the altercation, he likely did not fire the rounds that injured the 18-year-old victim,” a statement reportedly read.

Police now believe at least one gunman remains at large. They are continuing to investigate the event.

Who was Emantic Bradford?

Demonstrators marched through the mall on Friday evening, and held a moment of silence at the spot where Bradford was shot dead.

Bradford had received some military training, but he was reportedly discharged from the US Army in August before it was completed.

His mother, April Pipkins, said in an interview on Saturday that her son was licensed to carry a weapon, and that he may have been trying to protect shoppers, the New York Times reported.

According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Alabama does not have laws against public carrying of firearms.

“He was trying to be somebody who helped save people, yet he was killed,” Ms Pipkins lawyer, Benjamin Crump said.

A prominent civil rights lawyer, Mr Crump previously represented the family of Trayvon Martin.

‘Blindingly obvious’ that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi murder: US State Department official tells ABC News ‘there is overwhelming consensus that the leadership is involved’.

Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 [File: Virginia Mayo/AP]
Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 [File: Virginia Mayo/AP]

A United States Department of State official, who has seen a version of the CIA’s assessment on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has said it is “blindingly obvious” that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing.

“The idea that it goes all the way to the top is blindingly obvious. There’s overwhelming consensus that the leadership is involved – no one is debating it within the government,” the official told ABC News on condition of anonymity on Tuesday.

However, the official acknowledged that the words “probably” and “likely” are used when attributing the death to Prince Mohammed, ABC News reported, adding that the source noted that CIA analysis reports rarely include explicit conclusions.

US President Donald Trump is facing increasing pressure to take tougher measures against Saudi Arabia before the expected release of an official report into the killing.

Trump had told reporters on Saturday that a detailed report, including information about who was responsible for last month’s murder of the Washington Post columnist inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, would be released “probably on Monday or Tuesday”.

According to US media reports, the CIA has concluded that Prince Mohammed, also known as MBS, ordered Khashoggi’s killing.

Trump has called the reports “premature” saying he’s not convinced that Prince Mohammed, the kingdom’s de facto leader, was directly responsible for the October 2 slaying of the writer.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has rejected the media reports, saying “such allegations about the crown prince have no basis in truth”.

But there are increasing calls, both from Democrats and Republicans in Congress, for more action amid a growing consensus that MBS must have known about the operation.

“Donald Trump just says, ‘Will anybody really know?’ as if our intelligence agencies are incapable of making an assessment,” Democratic Senator Ron Wyden said on Monday.

He urged CIA Director Gina Haspel and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats to “come out and provide the American people and the Congress with a public assessment of who ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi”.

Al Jazeera’s Mike Hana, reporting from Washington, said the fact that the CIA assessment was “reported in so many outlets at the same time indicates that this could have been some kind of a coordinated leak”.

“Some observers say that the CIA is bringing pressure to bear on the president to make the report public,” he said.

Amid outcry over writer’s killing, dozens of princes and cousins want to see change in line of succession, report says.

Crown Prince <span>Mohammed bin Salman</span> is under the spotlight over suspected involvement in journalist's murder [Handout via Reuters]
Crown Prince <span>Mohammed bin Salman</span> is under the spotlight over suspected involvement in journalist’s murder [Handout via Reuters]

Members of Saudi Arabia’s ruling family are agitating to prevent Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) from becoming king after the international uproar over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, sources close to the royal court told Reuters news agency.

Senior US officials, meanwhile, have indicated to Saudi advisers in recent weeks they would support Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz – who was deputy interior minister for nearly 40 years – as a potential successor to King Salman, according to Saudi sources with direct knowledge of the consultations.

Amid international outrage over Khashoggi’s murder, dozens of princes and cousins from powerful branches of the Al Saud family want to see a change in the line of succession, but will not act while King Salman – the crown prince’s 82-year-old father – is still alive, sources said.

They recognise the king is unlikely to turn against his favourite son, the report added.

Rather, they are discussing the possibility with other family members that after the king’s death, Prince Ahmed, 76, uncle of the crown prince, could take the throne, according to the sources.

Prince Ahmed, King Salman’s only surviving full brother, would have the support of family members, the security apparatus, and some Western powers, one of the Saudi sources said.

Prince Ahmed returned to Riyadh in October after two months abroad.

During the trip, he appeared to criticise the Saudi leadership while responding to protesters outside a London residence chanting for the downfall of the Al Saud dynasty. He was one of only three people on the Allegiance Council, made up of the ruling family’s senior members, who opposed MBS becoming crown prince in 2017, Saudi sources said at the time.

Neither Prince Ahmed nor his representatives could be reached for comment. Officials in Riyadh did not immediately respond to requests from Reuters for comment on succession issues.

Tribal tradition

The House of Saud is made up of hundreds of princes. Unlike typical European monarchies, there is no automatic succession from father to eldest son. Instead, the kingdom’s tribal traditions dictate the king and senior family members from each branch select the heir they consider fittest to lead.

Saudi sources said they were confident Prince Ahmed would not change or reverse any of the social or economic reforms enacted by the crown prince, would honour existing military procurement contracts, and would restore the unity of the family.

However, one senior US official said the White House is in no hurry to distance itself from MBS despite pressure from legislators and the CIA’s assessment he ordered Khashoggi’s murder, though that could change once Trump gets a definitive report on the killing from the intelligence community.

The official also said the White House saw it as noteworthy that King Salman seemed to stand by his son – also known as MBS – in a speech in Riyadh on Monday and made no direct reference to Khashoggi’s killing, except to praise the Saudi public prosecutor.

The Saudi sources said US officials had cooled on MBS not only because of his suspected role in the murder of Khashoggi. They are also unhappy because the crown prince recently urged the Saudi defence ministry to explore alternative weapons supplies from Russia, the sources said.

In a letter dated May 15, seen by Reuters, the crown prince requested the defence ministry “focus on purchasing weapon systems and equipment in the most pressing fields” and get training on them, including the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system.

Neither the Russian defence ministry nor officials in Riyadh immediately responded to requests for comment.

WATCH

Saudi Arabia’s war on journalism

‘A red line’

The brutal killing of Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the crown prince, in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month has drawn global condemnation, including from many politicians and officials in the United States, a key Saudi ally.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Tuesday claims, including by the CIA, that MBS gave the order to kill Khashoggi were false, according to an Arabic-language newspaper interview.

“We in the kingdom know that such allegations about the crown prince have no basis in truth and we categorically reject them, whether through leaks or not,” Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir was quoted as saying in Saudi-owned al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper.

“They are leaks that have not been officially announced, and I have noticed that they are based on an assessment, not conclusive evidence.”

Jubeir was also asked about comments by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the kill order came from the highest level of the Saudi leadership but probably not King Salman, which has put the spotlight instead on the 33-year-old crown prince.

“We have already asked the Turkish authorities at the highest level about the meaning of these comments, and they confirmed to us categorically that the crown prince is not meant by these comments,” he said.

“The leadership of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia – represented by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques [the king] and the crown prince – is a red line and we will not permit attempts to harm or undermine them.”

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor has also said the crown prince knew nothing of Khashoggi’s killing.

Consolidated control

WATCH

Saudi cleric’s son: ‘Everyone is threatened’

Since his ascension, MBS has gained popular support with high-profile social and economic reforms, including ending a ban on women driving and opening cinemas in the conservative kingdom.

However, the reforms have been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent, a purge of top royals and businessmen on corruption charges, and a costly war in Yemen.

He has also marginalised senior members of the royal family and consolidated control over Saudi’s security and intelligence agencies. The entire House of Saud has emerged weakened as a result.

According to one well-placed Saudi source, many princes from senior circles in the family believe a change in the line of succession “would not provoke any resistance from the security or intelligence bodies he controls” because of their loyalty to the wider family.

“They [the security apparatus] will follow any consensus reached by the family.”

Officials in Riyadh did not respond to a request for comment.

Jamal Khashoggi, Mohammed bin Salman and the media

Navy SEALs and Marines charged in death of Special Forces soldier!

Army Staff Sergeant Logan J Melgar
Sgt Melgar’s throat was allegedly cut by the perpetrators

The US Navy has charged four members of elite forces with murdering a US Army soldier in the west African country of Mali last year.

Officials say Army Staff Sergeant Logan J Melgar was strangled to death by two Navy SEALs and two Marines who later tried to conceal their crime.

They allegedly cut the victim’s throat to appear as if they tried to perform a life-saving operation on him.

The charges do not name the accused men or provide a motive.

What are they accused of?

Military investigators say that the four accused service members broke into Staff Sgt Melgar’s private bedroom in Bamako, Mali’s capital, while he was sleeping with the intent to bind him with duct tape.

One put Staff Sgt Melgar in a fatal chokehold that was “inherently dangerous to another and evinced wanton disregard for human life,” according to the charge sheets, which were released on Thursday.

Two of the men told investigators they attempted CPR and tried to perform a tracheotomy on Staff Sgt Melgar before seeking help. But a later post-mortem examination found that he died by asphyxiation.

Two of the accused are US Marines and are listed as being part of the Special Operations Command.

The other two are Navy SEALs from the Navy Special Warfare Development Group. The unit is better known as SEAL Team 6, which participated in the May 2011 raid that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

All four are charged with felony murder, involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, hazing, burglary, and lying to investigators.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 December.

What has the reaction been?

A spokesman for US Special Operations Command said Thursday that “we honour the memory of Staff Sgt Melgar”.

“We will not allow allegations or substantiated incidents of misconduct to erode decades of honourable accomplishments by the members of US Special Operations Command.”

Staff Sgt Melgar’s June 2017 death was kept secret for months, before it was reported by The New York Times in October.

According to the Daily Beast, which first reported on this week’s charges, the men had been having an ongoing dispute after Melgar told his superiors that his comrades-in-arms had been frequenting prostitutes and were skimming cash from a fund they kept to recruit local informants.

US Embassy in Bamako, MaliUS embassy housing in Bamako

In a statement to the Daily Beast, Staff Sgt Melgar’s wife said: “While I have faith that the military court will handle this situation in the best possible way, I also understand that the mission continues.

“Our men must work well together, and we need to support them in doing so.”

Staff Sgt Melgar, who was originally from Texas and had previously served in Afghanistan, was a member of the same special forces group as the four Americans who were killed in an ambush in Niger in 2017.

The charges come as the Pentagon announced that they are reducing the numbers of US counter-terrorism troops in Africa by about 700.

The Thinning Blue Line: A police shortage in Maine could soon get a lot worse (or is that better?)

Many departments have multiple positions open, but supervisors are struggling to find qualified candidates to fill them. So what happens when a large number of veteran officers retire?

Maine is no exception.

Many police departments, statewide, have multiple positions open, but supervisors are struggling to find qualified candidates to fill them.

Even more troubling, what those numbers look like moving forward, when a large number of veteran officers can retire.

Helping people. As cliche as it might sound it’s the No. 1 reason many police officers put on the badge.

A former high school English teacher, Tyler Plourde is now a trooper with the Maine State Police. “I wanted to have an impact on my community being able to help people”.

Officer Colin Gordan is a Falmouth police officer. “People ultimately get into to police work to help people, preserve order. As corny and cheesy as that sounds it’s true.”

What’s also true is there are fewer and fewer people willing to do the job. Many departments in Maine are down two, five, even 13 police officers.

Lt. John Kilbride, a 20-year veteran of the Falmouth Police Department, says that’s an incredible strain for a department. He says, “it’s nerve-wracking, you can’t just pluck a police officer off a tree.”

There are a lot of reasons for the police shortage.

  • Low pay, when compared to the high risks of the job
  • The negative attitude some people have toward police
  • A difficult and lengthy hiring process
  • Young people entering the workforce who are making a balance between work and life a top priority (something that any cop will tell you is not easy)

Maine State Police Lt. David Tripp says while his agency has been successful shoring up their vacancy rate, he admits being down troopers can cause a strain. “We are pushing some would say beyond our capacity with the services we’re providing.”

It’s a problem that could get a lot worse.

The Maine State Police currently has 341 officers. In two years, 15 percent will be eligible to retire. That’s 51 state troopers.

There are 161 Portland police officers. Over the course of the next five years, more than 25 percent are or will be eligible for retirement. That’s more than 44 officers.

The Maine Warden Service is facing similar issues. There are 125 game wardens. Today, 23 percent can retire. That’s more than 40.

Even smaller agencies are not immune.

The South Portland Police Department has 55 officers. Right now, 26 percent can retire. That’s 14 police officers.

Lt. Tripp says, “so when we look at that number that could be fairly high, 51 potentially retiring, that does cause us some concern”.

Those numbers are forcing departments to be more flexible and take a closer look at how they’re recruiting. Some are using social media and incentives or signing bonuses to attract candidates.

But finding interested candidates isn’t the only challenge, so is finding qualified ones.

Lt. John Kilbride says, “I will go without before I put forth someone I’m not comfortable with.”

When a department is down officers, it’s forced to play defense—prioritizing calls as well as cases.

That can not only impact communities, it can place a bigger burden on the rank and file.

“You start putting stressors on really good people and they start evaluating whether they want to stick around, it’s a sinking ship. You’ve hit the iceberg,” says Lt. Kilbride.

NEWS CENTER Maine spoke with officers from agencies across the state, who did not want to go on camera. They told us “a lot of times it’s like swimming upstream” … “investigations don’t get the attention they deserve, because they’re not enough officers” … “everyone loves to take video of you hoping you screw up” and “a lot of people don’t understand our training or why we do the things we do.”

Joe Loughlin, former deputy chief of the Portland Police Department and a national law enforcement consultant, says the stress on law enforcement officers today is enormous.

Loughlin says, “for years we’ve been saying we can do less with more, well that doesn’t work anymore, you need people”.

“These are tough days for this profession and tough days for the citizens because in the end, it’s the good citizens who suffer,” says Loughlin.

Loughlin, as well as those still in law enforcement, says they’re confident that, while it won’t happen right away, this shortage will pass and ultimately enough people will answer the call to protect and serve.

Lt. Tripp says, “I’ve had citizens say to me why would you do this job? Why would you want to do a job with everything going on today? Police officers being shot at or shot. Why would you do it? For me personally, if it’s not us, then who is it?”