UPDATED: JUN. 05, 2015
On Monday night while, 1,800 miles away, Ferguson was rioting over the shooting of Michael Brown, Ezell Ford was walking down a street in Los Angeles.
It’s not clear what Ford was doing. Ford had a history of mental illness and had been convicted of marijuana possession and illegal possession of a loaded firearm. In January, he was put on probation for trespassing in Long Beach. But there’s not yet information about what he was doing wrong, if anything. And it’s not yet clear why he was stopped by police.
What is clear: After he was stopped, Ford was killed, shot by two members of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Even as the LAPD released a detailed account of the incident Wednesday,the Los Angeles Times reported that “residents and community activists are demanding answers” about the shooting.
According to the LAPD’s news release, two veteran gang officers saw Ford walking on a South Los Angeles sidewalk Monday night and stopped their patrol car and attempted to speak to him. But Ford, the statement said, “continued walking and made suspicious movements, including attempting to conceal his hands.
“When the officers got closer and attempted to stop the individual, the individual turned, grabbed one of the officers, and a struggle ensued. During the struggle, they fell to the ground and the individual attempted to remove the officer’s handgun from its holster.” The other officer, police said, “fired his handgun and the officer on the ground fired his backup weapon at the individual.” Police said Ford was detained, then transported to a hospital where he later died.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Dorene Henderson, a family friend, witnessed part of the incident and “saw no struggle between the officers and Ford.” Henderson said that neighbors began yelling at the officers: “He’s got mental problems.”
Ford’s parents said he was diagnosed with depression and later schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. A man who identified himself as Ford’s cousin told Los Angeles news station KTLA: “They laid him out and for whatever reason, they shot him in the back, knowing mentally, he has complications. Every officer in this area, from the Newton Division, knows that — that this child has mental problems,” the man said. In addition: “The excessive force … there was no purpose for it. The multiple shootings in the back while he’s laying down? No. Then when the mom comes, they don’t try to console her … they pull the billy clubs out.”
KTLA reported that Ford’s mother, Tritobia Ford, said her son “was lying on the ground and complying with the officers’ commands when he was shot three times.”
“My heart is so heavy,” she told the station. “My son was a good kid. He didn’t deserve to die the way he did.”
via The Washington Post
The LAPD has found that the two officers were justified in shooting and killing Ezell Ford who was mentally ill and unarmed. Ford was one of 18 people killed by LAPD last year.