Protests at a Hoover resort Thursday night left two security guards injured, the first reported injuries during two weeks of unrest over the officer-involved shooting death of Emantic Fitzgerald “EJ” Bradford Jr., Hoover city officials announced Friday.
One security guard at Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort suffered an arm injury when he tried to keep the entry doors closed as protesters tried to enter the hotel lobby. A second security got was knocked over trying to block protesters from entering a stairwell. He suffered a knee injury.
Hoover City Administrator Allan Rice said both men went to the free-standing emergency room for X-rays and treatment. Police reports were filed on both incidents. Neither incident was witnessed by police so arrests weren’t made.
However, both victims will be following up with Hoover Municipal Court magistrates today to pursue criminal charges. “This is the type of thing we will not tolerate,” Rice said. “We said all along as long as no one injured and property not destroyed, we would manage the protests.”
“However, this is clearly no longer about pursuing the truth and it has became about breaking the law and injuring people in our city and we won’t stand for that,” Rice said.
Lead protester Carlos Chaverst Jr. denies reports that protesters hurt anyone. “Nobody touched nobody. It’s completely false. Nobody touched any security guard,” Chaverst said. “The security guard pushed me and I’m going to file charges against one of the security guards. When we got to the door they started pushing us.”
“I’m getting ready to file an assault charge against the security guard,” he said. “If that’s how they want to play, we’re going to play the same game.”
Thursday night marked two weeks since the Thanksgiving night death of Bradford. Polce said Bradford and at least one of his friends, 18-year-old Brian Wilson, were involved in an altercation with another group that included 20-year-old Erron Brown.
According to authorities, Brown shot Wilson and fled the scene. Two Hoover police officers were nearby and one of them shot Bradford while he was brandishing a handgun. Bradford was pronounced dead on the scene.
Brown’s attorney, Charles Salvagio, said all of the men involved knew each other. He said Brown is not guilty of any crime. The investigation is ongoing by the State Bureau of Investigation.
Since Bradford’s death, multiple protests have been held in Hoover including at the mall, outside Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato’s home, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Buffalo Wild Wings and on Interstate 459, where protests shut down traffic at the Interstate 65 interchange for about 20 minutes. Thursday night a group of about 60 took their protest to Ross Bridge and later the YMCA on Highway 150 at South Shades Crest Road.
Teams of police officers from Hoover, as well as Jefferson and Shelby county sheriff’s deputies, were prepared to respond to protests Thursday night. The protesters were only in the hotel for about 10 minutes. They then left the hotel and continued on Ross Bridge Parkway. Police blocked Highway 150, forcing traffic to turn left onto Highway 150.
They briefly demonstrated in far end of the parking lot near Highway 150 before police again asked them to leave. They were at YMCA for around 15 or 20 minutes.
Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies stopped Elijah King, who was driving the car Chaverst was riding in near the Shell gas station across from the YMCA. King was given a ticket for allegedly stopping while driving on Highway 150, Chaverst said. Chaverst claimed they stopped because “the car was running hot.”
Both King and Chaverst repeatedly asked for an attorney and argued with the officers. They pulled away after King eventually signed the citation. Chaverst called the deputies “racist cops” in the live video.
In an interview Thursday, Rice emphasized that during the two weeks of protests, there had been no injuries and no property damage. “We’re pleased to be able to say that,’’ he said. “Other communities who have experienced this type of unrest cannot make that statement.”