Community conversation on criminal justice reform

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham’s police chief, Jefferson County’s district attorney and sheriff are all participating in a community discussion about race relations in Birmingham and beyond. 

It is a conversation that comes in the midst of the controversy surrounding Attorney General Steve Marshall’s conclusion of the E.J. Bradford case. 

A case where Bradford’s family and attorney have claimed racial bias was a factor.

Attorney General Steve Marshall maintains that the officer who shot and killed Bradford at the Riverchase Galleria on Thanksgiving night, saw Bradford as an immediate threat to citizens and that the officer’s actions were justified. 

The local chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. is opening up a conversation about safety and justice, more specifically the disproportinate number of black boys and men being killed and incarcerated in Jefferson County, Birmingham and surrounding cities. 

A timely conversation, that will likely not escape the shadows of the E.J. Bradford case. 

Thursday’s conversation is one of many happening in the Birmingham area centered around race relations.

Wednesday night, UAB hosted a speaker series exploring race, society and culture.

The timing was conicidental.

Historian and author Dr. Ibram Kendi had plenty do say about the current racial climate and why he believes the Bradford case came to a conclusion too soon. 

“I’m still trying to figure out what he did wrong and for someone not to be charged with killing him it’s essentially saying that he’s responsible for his own death,” said Kendi. 

Speaking more broadly about race in America, Dr. Kendi tells CBS 42 conversations about the impacts of racial tensions are important to dissect.

“We have to talk about larger issues like disparities in the number of people who are arrested, who are incarcerated the difficulty that people have when they are released from prison to hold a job, get a job,” said Kendi.

Incarceration and crime rates among black men will be discussed at Thursday’s Men in Dialogue conversation.

The dialogue kicks off Thursday at the Parthenon at 6 p.m. 

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