Alabama Attorney General's office taking over Galleria shooting investigations
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall announced Thursday that his office had taken over all investigations related to the Thanksgiving night shootings at the Riverchase Galleria mall.
"We understand decisions related to this case will be widely scrutinized. What's important is the decision is not scrutinized because of some perceived conflict," said Marshall during Thursday's press conference.
Marshall's office will now handle the attempted murder case against Erron Bown and decide whether criminal charges should be filed in Bradford's death once Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) finishes its investigation.
Marshall would not commit to releasing video of the shootings when ALEA finishes its investigation.
"A video doesn't tell the whole story. There are countless witnesses that have been interviewed. There is multiple areas of evidence that will be collected and all of that will be part of our decision making in all of these cases including the one involving Mr. Bradford."
Marshall said his decision to assume prosecution was the potential for perceived conflicts of interest for newly-elected Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr. The attorney general revealed the Hoover Police officer who shot at the center of the investigation into the death of E.J. Bradford is also a witness or involved in 20 pending cases involving the district attorney's office.
Old photos surfaced in recent days showing Carr posing for photos with Carlos Chaverst Jr., a Birmingham based activist who has organized many of the recent protests in Hoover.
"We've seen the pictures. We are aware of what is out there, publicly available."
On Thursday, Chaverst displayed a photo alongside Marshall demanding he recuse himself from the case. Marshall's office said the photo from May 2017 was taken when protesters gathered outside an event he was attended. They contended there was no relationship between Marshall and Chaverst.
Carr, who Marshall called a friend, did not appear to agree with the attorney general's opinion to remove him from the case.
"The Jefferson County District Attorney's Office stands ready and capable to proceed with this case based on the and evidence once provided, and the law as it currently exists," said Carr in a written statement.
State leaders were more upfront with their dissatisfaction in the decision. State representative John Rodgers Jr.(D - Birmingham) said multiple national civil rights organizations have promised extended protests in Alabama if there was evidence the investigation was mishandled by state officials.
"I don't want that to happen. I'm going to tell him (Marshall). I'm going to see him in person to say don't do what he's trying to do. If he do that it's going to cause a lot of turmoil and concern. They're going to march from Birmingham to Montgomery.
WATCH: Attorney General Steve Marshall Announces His Office Is Taking Over Mall Shooting Prosecutions
A THANKSGIVING NIGHT SHOOTING TURNS TO CONFUSION
E.J. Bradford was fatally shot by an off-duty, uniformed Hoover police officer working security for the mall. The officer was responding to reports of shots fired. Authorities inaccurately identified Bradford as the suspected shooter.
A suspect in the shooting, 20-year-old Erron Brown, was later taken into custody in Fulton County, Georgia.
Councilman Murphy, Mayor Brocato and Police Chief Derzis met with the Bradford family to apologize for identifying Bradford as the shooter and offered condolences and prayers for the family. Benjamin Crump, the nationally recognized civil rights attorney who represents Bradford's family confirmed they were allowed by Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) to view a brief portion of the video of the shooting.
Since Bradford's death protesters continue to demand the release of evidence related to the case, which remains under investigation.