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Ezell Ford… Still Waits For Justice
By Brian W. Carter, Staff Writer
Published June 11, 2015

One officer has violated policy but criminal charges have yet to be filed

As far as the actual shooting, the commission decided unanimously that one of officers violated department policy, according to Steve Soboroff, President of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners. (courtesy photo)


“I’m asking you. I’m begging you. Please. Please. … He wanted to live,” stated Tritobia Ford to the police commission. “My son would never grab for no gun.”

Ford was a mother pleading that the police commission deliver justice in the shooting of her son Ezell Ford. Ford, who is said to have been mentally ill, was fatally shot by police officers last year. On Friday, June 5, it was announced by Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and the Police Department’s independent watchdog, that two of the officers might be justified in the shooting of Ford, which has led to a series of protests.

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The shooting itself sparked local outrage as the nation had already reached its tipping point with the shooting of Michael Brown. Ford’s death at the hands of LAPD was only more salt in the wound. The community has been vocal with their anger over the possibility of the officers being exonerated of Ford’s death.

Protestors, civic leaders and concerned citizens have been camped outside LAPD Headquarters and Mayor Eric Garcetti’s residence since the weekend. On Tuesday, June 9, a civilian review met to decide whether the shooing of Ford was justified. It’s been alleged that Ford was resisting arrest which led to police officers shooting him. According to information revealed by the L.A. Times, Ford’s DNA was found on one of the officer’s gun, which entails a struggle.

Ford’s family and members of community and public plead their case to commissioners and then left to deliberate the case. The commission was disrupted a few times by protesters who wanted more time to appeal to the commission. LAPD officers had to detain some protestors for the disruptions.  The process, long and arduous, kept many on pens and needles as the public took to social media voicing their concerns.

The community has been vocal with their anger over the possibility of the officers being exonerated of Ford’s death. (courtesy photo)


“We don’t respect the Police Commission because we don’t trust you. We have yet to see you do the right thing,” stated one crowd member.

“I want to tell you how easy it is for a young black man to be accosted by police,” said another crowd member addressing the safety of Black youth.

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“This is a tragedy, for all involved, for family, loved ones and friends of Mr. Ford,” said Steve Soboroff, President of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners.

As far as the actual shooting, the commission decided unanimously that one of officers violated department policy, according to Soboroff. The commission did not specify which officer was found to have violated policy while another officer was stated to have been justified in firing his weapon. The officers involved in the shooting were identified as Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas.  Whether the officers will receive criminal charges was stated would be up to the D.A.’s office.

Councilmember Curren D. Price Jr. issued the following statement on Tuesday following the LAPD Police Commission’s announcement.

“Los Angeles has come a long way over the last few decades, and good work has gone into making our police system more transparent, efficient and fair,” said Price. “The investigative process that we have seen unfold over the course of 10 months, culminating today, is an example of those reforms in action.

“The Ezell Ford case though, and other incidents involving use of police force in our city and across the country, let us know that we still have more work to do before we can truly heal and develop the kind of trust we need between the police and our community. “

“Critical to this process is ensuring that people are held accountable for their actions when policies are not followed, and that we have the courage and will to change policies when they no longer serve the best interest of our residents.

“I applaud the Police Commission for the tremendous amount of volunteer hours they have devoted to this investigation. Now we owe it to the Ford family and our entire community, to act with urgency in responding to the commission’s findings. Beyond that, we should use this as an opportunity to continue developing programs to bridge the gap between law enforcement and our communities of color. The future of our City depends on it.”

After meeting privately with Ford’s family, the Mayor Garcetti held a news conference at First AME Church of Los Angeles Tuesday night to discuss the Police Commission’s findings. He has stated that the Police Commission came to a fair conclusion and the Ford case shows “we have a system that can work.

“We are committed to a free and impartial process and that’s what we saw today,” said Garcetti.

 

Categories: Local

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