HOOVER, AL (WBRC) - Hoover mayor Frank Brocato’s first State of the City address following the Thanksgiving night shooting at Riverchase Galleria focused how the events that night have and could impact the city.
On Thanksgiving night, E.J. Bradford was shot and killed by a Hoover police officer and two others were wounded in a separate shooting incident at the Hoover mall.
The shooting made national news and also sparked regular protests from community activists who demanded the release of the footage of the Hoover police officer shooting Bradford. Protesters tried to paint Hoover as racist, which Brocato in his State of the City address said repeatedly that is not the case.
“We are as diverse as probably any city in America and we are proud of that fact and our citizens are proud,” Brocato said.
The protesters sought to hurt sales the stores at Riverchase Galleria and surrounding retail area over the Christmas buying season.
“Certainly at the end of the day we will find it has an impact, but I don’t think it will be significant,” Brocato said.
The mayor told the crowd at the Hoover Chamber of Commerce meeting that despite some stores closing, the economic future of the city looks good. He said more retail development is coming and the city wants to expand to other business opportunities.
“We know we are going to get retail and will continue to recruit quality retail business, but we would like to bolster that by bringing in white-collared types of business,” Brocato said.
The mayor says companies are not turning away because of the protests or accusations of racial divide.
“I have no concern about that at all because I know who we are,” Brocato said.
Brocato said the city’s comprehensive plan, which will be released soon, will help outline the city’s future. He adds he wants that future to continue to have a serious discussion on race relations on how the city treats residents as a part of that future.