Sooner or later we all knew it was going to happen; a man with a concealed carry permit was killed by a cop responding to a shooting in a Hoover, Alabama, shopping mall.
An argument between two male shoppers resulted in one man shooting another and injuring a young girl in the melee that sent shoppers running for cover through the mall. One of those running – possibly towards, rather than away from – the shooting was a new Army recruit, 21-year old Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford, Jr. Two Hoover PD cops working security in the mall responded to the shooting and in the process saw Bradford with a gun in his hand. Thinking Bradford was the criminal shooter, the cops shot and killed Bradford. Further investigation indicated that Bradford was not the shooter but had a concealed carry permit and, gun in hand, was responding to the shooting himself or, at the very least, was readying himself for self-protection if necessary.
Further, Emantic Bradford, Sr., the recruit’s father, is a Birmingham, AL, police officer.
We have long advocated for some kind of ID for permittees so they could avoid becoming a victim while in the process of defending him/herself or others from a criminal shooter. The problem is what kind of ID…one that could not be copied by a suspect as an aid to avoid police scrutiny in an emergency situation. Had such an ID been displayed by young Bradford he could have alerted police that he should not be targeted.
Similarly, 26-year old Jemel Roberson was working security at a Chicago area bar when a shooting occurred between two drunk customers. Roberson reacted instantly, apprehended and moved one of the men involved outside, took him to the ground where Roberson held the man with his knee in the man’s back and his gun pointed at the man’s back, as well. That’s when Midlothian, IL, police showed up, saw Roberson with the gun, then shot and killed him while bystanders were hollering that “He’s Security!!” Both Bradford and Roberson were black and that sparks an almost immediate revolt against police officers making them subject to remarks about race.
Cops aren’t trained to ask questions when confronted with a subject holding a gun. They are not on call to reason with a subject. That’s for trained negotiators and detectives to handle, and citizens, with or without gun permits, need to consider that. It’s unfortunate that so many young black Americans get pegged as possible illegal gun carry suspects. New York’s former Stop and Frisk program, very effective but heavily criticized, helped to curb crime often before it got out of control but was retired out of political considerations. What’s left is an amalgam of suspicion coupled with political race- baiting defenses and calls for police reform, police firing, and police convictions, none of which actually help reduce but only exacerbate the problem.
But, returning to the ID suggestion, it seems not only logical but imperative in this age of gun rights, stand your ground laws, and self-protection among an increasingly armed citizenry that the only resolution to unintended shooting of good guys with guns is some method of before-the-fact identification of citizens being armed and protected from the supposition inherent in all emergencies as legally permitted gun carriers.