LAPD seeks witnesses to Ezell Ford shooting

By Ashley Yang and Celeste Alvarez

LAPD press conference on Ezell Ford investigation. | LAPD Twitter

LAPD press conference on Ezell Ford investigation. | LAPD Twitter

Los Angeles city officials and law enforcement officers reinforced their plea Thursday for witnesses to come forward with more information about the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Ezell Ford, a mentally ill African-American man, by two Los Angeles Police Department officers more than three months ago.

“We are here today united in the search for truth,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters at a news conference. “The community, the poor family, our police officers and the city deserve nothing less.”

The LAPD expressed need for the community’s assistance in forming a clear account of the circumstances surrounding Ford’s death. Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said her office will also be accepting witness statements if the public does not feel comfortable reaching out to the LAPD.

Ford was fatally shot by LAPD gang officers on Aug. 11, 2014 on West 65th Street near Broadway in South Los Angeles. His parents have since filed a wrongful death suit against the LAPD, accusing police of racial profiling and using excessive force.

See also: Ezell Ford Family Files $75 Million Federal Lawsuit

The suit claims that officers approached Ford as he walked home on Aug. 11th even though he had not committed a crime, and that he was shot after complying with a police directive to lie on the ground. It accuses the LAPD of failing to adequately supervise and train the officers and the officers themselves for acting “reckless[ly]” and “with callous indifference” to Ford’s rights.

Ford was killed just two days after the police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year old African-American in Ferguson, Missouri.

Witnesses have given conflicting accounts of the events surrounding Ford’s death. According to LAPD reports, Ford tackled one of the officers and reached for his gun, which prompted both officers – one of whom is Latino and the other Asian-American – to open fire. However, a friend of Ford’s family who claims to have seen part of the incident says that no struggle took place.

L.A. Mayor Garcetti says that he will put pressure on the LAPD to release Ford’s autopsy results by the end of the year:

Reactions to statements made during the press conference were mixed. A community activist and supporter of Ezell Ford had this to say:

Reach Staff Reporter Ashley Yang here, or follow her on Twitter

Reach Staff Reporter Celeste Alvarez here. 

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