Hoover mayor: We weren’t caught off guard by protesters blocking I-459
In an interview on WERC’s “Morning News with JT” on Thursday morning, Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato explained that the city’s police department was prepared for the Tuesday evening protest that blocked traffic on I-459 and disrupted traffic on I-65.
While some citizens have expressed discontent with the city’s handling of the protests, Brocato said that how they managed Tuesday evening, and have been handling all of the protests to this point, is intentional and in everyone’s best interests, as overreactions by Hoover could further inflame tensions.
He also stressed that Hoover’s status as one of the best cities in Alabama has not changed.
“Let me just say this to our citizens – we talk a lot in Hoover about the quality of life, what a wonderful, wonderful city it is. And it has not changed because of this terrible event,” Brocato said, speaking of the officer-involved shooting death of Emantic “E.J.” Bradford, Jr. on Thanksgiving night.
He added, “It is still a wonderful city with a great quality of life, and I just want to reinforce to our citizens that I know that you’re shaken over this – it’s very unusual, we’re not used to this, nobody is [here] – but we’re committed to your safety, we’re committed to your security and we’re going to do everything we can to make people that come to Hoover feel very safe, just like they have for the past 50 years.”
Brocato continued, praising the police department and its leadership for putting together and executing an “instant action plan” in the aftermath of the shooting.
“We’re dealing with a very unusual situation with these protesters and the way that they’re handling, but the chief and his staff, [City Manager Allan Rice] and his staff have put together a remarkable plan that we’ve not been surprised by anything. Even the blocking of the interstate did not catch us off guard,” Brocato outlined.
“We had task force and strike teams available with wreckers ready to remove all of those cars, and it really worked well,” he explained.
The protesters stopped blocking the interstate after being asked to leave once by police officers on the scene, so arrests and towing vehicles were not needed.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn