For just a moment, I want to give you an important update on the police shooting of 21 year old EJ Bradford, Jr. – the military veteran who was shot and killed by police at a Birmingham area shopping mall this past Black Friday.
If you missed the story, police shot and killed EJ, who had never been in trouble a day in his life, then claimed they did so because he was a mass shooter and had shot several people, including a 12 year old girl. After murdering EJ, police then claimed the mall and city was safe, and plastered his face all over the news.
24 hours later police admitted that EJ was not the mass shooter and never fired a gun and that the mass shooter was still on the loose, but they refused to apologize and claimed he still had something to do with it.
72 hours later they apologized to the family and admitted that EJ wasn’t the mass shooter, never fired a gun, and was actually fleeing the mall and trying to help people get away.
Yesterday, the autopsy results were released, and we learned that police never even saw EJ’s face. The cop who shot him, who we believe has a history of misconduct and violence, shot EJ three times in the back – including once in the back of his head.
Witnesses say the cop never even announced himself or warned EJ. We are told that this mall has hundreds of security cameras, but the mall and the city refuse to release a single video of the incident. We know it was filmed and we know that if they had even one second of film implicating EJ in any type of violence that they would’ve already released it by now.
If you check my Instagram, yesterday I just shared a video from a press conference EJ’s family had yesterday with our friend, Attorney Ben Crump. In it, EJ’s father stares straight at the camera and calls the cop who murdered his son a coward. It’s a painful, powerful moment of truth.
I need to change gears for a moment.
Soon after the New Year, I think you are going to begin to see several serious candidates announce that they are running for President. I have already talked to two of them. People are forming their teams. People writing their platforms. People are building websites. They are testing the waters in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
And all of that is fine, it’s normal.
But I want to tell you what else is normal. And this year, I’m trying to fire off some warning shots before it happens like it always happens.
Democratic candidates hire almost exclusively white companies, white contractors, and white male senior executives to run their campaigns – from the top down – from campaign manager, to policy director, on down, and then wonder why they aren’t resonating not only with Black folk, but with all communities of color.
And I want to preemptively announce to all of these candidates that I am studying every single hire they make. And if their staffs don’t look like the diverse base of Democratic voters, I’m putting them on blast. I’ll put them on blast right here on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. I’ll put them on blast on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and I’ll use every ounce of influence I have to let the world know that they beg for Black votes, but don’t hire and contract us out to lead and manage their campaigns.
And don’t give me that tire old BS about how candidates needs to “hire the most qualified people.” Of course they do, but that phrase “hire the most qualified people” is consistently code for hiring white men, when we know that no single demographic in America is more educated and qualified to lead than Black women. There is not a single position in a single campaign in which a qualified Black woman could not lead. Period.
In years past, we simply wait to see what candidates are going to offer, we wait to see who they hire, what they stand for, what their plans will be, but I want you to understand that that’s not how this game works. These candidates and teams are already in formation mode, and if we don’t demand that they do better by us over these next few weeks, when they go public, it’s going to be the same old tired stuff, with the same old tired ideas, and same old tired teams. And I’m not OK with that.
Let me close with this thought. We have to be proactive. We have to be strategic. We have to flex our power. These candidates and the entire Democratic Party can’t go ANYWHERE without us.