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The lawyer for the family of a man killed by police inside Alabama’s largest mall on Thanksgiving night blasted the state attorney’s general’s decision to take over the investigation.
The lawyer, Benjamin Crump, said at a news conference Monday that Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s decision to oversee the case of the fatal shooting of Emantic “E.J.” Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. by a police officer was premature and “deeply disturbing.”
“This could potentially undermine any trust that the black community has in this process,” Crump said.
Marshall announced Thursday that his office will oversee the case to prevent the appearance of any possible conflicts of interest for local officials.
In a letter to Jefferson County’s newly elected district attorney, Danny Carr, Marshall said that Carr has “personal relationships” with some of the protesters calling for the officer who shot Bradford to be prosecuted. Carr is the first African-American district attorney in the county's history.
Marshall also said that while he did not believe any conflict existed, having his office assume control was a precaution against the possible appearance of such conflict.
Bradford’s death has led to nearly daily protests in Hoover, a suburb of Birmingham.
“All the family wants is for justice to be served,” Bradford’s mother, April Pipkins, said Monday. “By taking the case from Mr. Carr, we feel they are trying to protect this officer who killed my son.“
Authorities have said an officer, whose identity has not been released, mistook Bradford, a 21-year-old Army veteran, for a gunman in a shooting inside the Riverchase Galleria mall.
Crump and Bradford’s family on Monday also renewed calls for police to release both the identity of the officer and video footage from the mall that night.
The family and Crump were shown a brief portion of video from about the time Bradford was shot, the lawyer said.
He said that what they saw was consistent with the findings of an independent autopsy released this month, which showed Bradford was struck three times from behind — in the head, neck and back.
The state attorney general did not immediately return NBC News’ request for comment. The Jefferson County District Attorney's Office told NBC News it "will have no further comment at this time due to the ongoing investigation."