Fatal Shooting Of 'Mentally Challenged' Man By LAPD Sparks Outrage
A community is grieving and outraged after LAPD shot and killed a man that family members say was "mentally challenged" and complying with officers' orders on Monday night.
Ezell Ford, 24, was shot by police around 8:20 p.m. on Monday night after what authorities called an "investigative stop" in the 200 block of 65th Street in Florence. Ford was already lying on the ground and complying with orders when he was shot in the back, his mother Tritobia Ford told KTLA.
"My son was a good kid. He didn't deserve to die the way he did," she said.
"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 this child has mental problems," a man who only identified himself as Ford's cousin told KTLA. He was around the corner when the shooting occurred. Both the LAPD and Ford's family have declined to state whether or not he was armed, according to the LA Times. Just last month, sheriff's deputies came under fire for the beating of a mentally ill man in Compton. Today the Compton chapter of the NAACP has called for a federal investigation into the beating of Barry Montgomery, according to City News Service.
LAPD haven't said why they stopped Ford in the first place, but an LAPD press release says a "struggle ensued" which led to the shooting. Ford was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery but later died from his injuries. The officer involved in the shooting has not been identified by the LAPD.
The shooting comes in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager who was killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri on Saturday. The shooting in Ferguson has triggered mass demonstrations.
A Facebook event has been set up to organize the rally, scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday in front of LAPD headquarters. Recently reinstated Police Chief Charlie Beck, Inspector General Alex Bustamante and the Board of Police Commissioners will review the incident to determine whether or not the officer acted within the LAPD's policies and whether the use of force was "objectively reasonable."
Update [12:15]: The LAPD says that Ezell Ford "whirled around and basically tackled" one of two police officers who approached him and went for the officer's gun. Commander Andy Smith says that the tackled officer was on his back and had to use his "backup weapon" and that Ford was also shot by the officer's partner, according to the LA Times.