A volatile “Black Lives Matter” protest erupted in Hoover on Monday evening, with the crowd encouraging violence and shutting down a part of busy Highway 31.
The assembly came in the aftermath of 21-year-old Emantic “E.J.” Bradford being killed in an officer-involved shooting at the Riverchase Galleria on the night of Thanksgiving. Protesting began on Saturday, with further organization now aided by Bradford’s family hiring attorney Benjamin L. Crump, who has previously represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice.
On Monday, what allegedly started as an “impromptu” demonstration devolved into a dangerous situation, with the crowd of 100+ pouring onto the highway in the dark of night, chanting “f*** the police” and blocking vehicles from passing while hurling more expletives at the bystanders in the vehicles.
In a clip that can be viewed here, protesters struck a dark SUV as it passed through the crowd. Most vehicles did not attempt to pass, instead honking at the protesters. The protest leader, who concluded, “We accomplished a lot tonight,” was yelling at one driver, “Hit me bi***.”
This leader, Carlos Chaverst, also called on Mayor Frank Brocato to resign. Without any supporting evidence, Chaverst alleged that Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department deputies have helped the Hoover Police Department cover up what actually happened.
The event began with speeches ranging from pastors to activists. Leaders of the movement took turns giving impassioned speeches that escalated as the night went on. In ABC 33/40’s live stream, viewers could see an individual donning an Anonymous mask, but it is not clear whether it was a member of the infamous international group or a wannabe.
During the speech portion of the evening, group chants alleged that police officers are “paid to kill.”
Individual protesters who spoke from the megaphone said some eyebrow-raising things, however the most brazen claim shared by multiple speakers is that there was not a shooter at all at the Galleria, and that officials are making it up to cover up the “assassination” of Bradford.
One protester, who identified as a member of the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense, seemed to imply that law enforcement officers are not the only ones that can use guns, meaning that people could shoot police. This same individual called officers “domestic terrorists” and “pigs.”
The New Black Panther Party is considered a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. They have a history of encouraging violence against law enforcement officers, as well as Jewish and white people.
Protesters then marched from the Hoover municipal complex down onto Highway 31, blocking traffic for awhile, until they walked to the Galleria, where they stayed inside for over 30 minutes.
They then returned to Hoover City Hall via the highway. On their return march, Bradford’s mother arrived in a Range Rover near the end of the protest to thank the crowd for their actions and support.
You can watch parts one and two of the protest below (WARNING – explicit language throughout):
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn