BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - U.S. Attorney Jay Town said the officer involved shooting death of Emantic Bradford, Jr. has been and continues to be under review by various civil rights components within the Department of Justice since it happened.
But what could the DOJ be looking for after the officer involved was cleared by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall?
Former Federal Prosecutor Jim Sturdivant points to a federal statute. “It would be investigation under Title 18, U.S. Code Section 242 and that is the proof of provision of federal criminal law that outlaws depriving someone of their civil rights under color of law,” explained Sturdivant.
"So, in other words, usually the most common example is a law-enforcement officer is usually the alleged perpetrator of such a crime,” Sturdivant continued.
As it is now, the DOJ is only reviewing the case and hasn’t launched a formal investigation. If there’s a decision to move forward, Sturdivant said many factors will come in to play. “I would expect them to look at the officers record as a whole and any of the officers that are involved all of their records will come under close scrutiny.”
He said the police regulations, state law - a comprehensive review of the entire situation will also be examined.
Sturdivant said the US Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Alabama has had a history of prosecuting civil rights violation cases. He said civil rights violations against an officer are often very difficult for prosecutors to win.
“To a large extent and jurors are reluctant to second-guess police officers in a split-second situation involving whether or not they should have us. it’s a heavy burden for prosecutors to overcome,” said Sturdivant.