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Activists demand charges in Ezell Ford, Omar Abrego shootings

Days after the long-awaited release of an autopsy report for a South Los Angeles man killed in a police shooting, activists plan to gather at the place of his death to demand charges against the officers who shot him.

The Coalition for Community Control Over the Police, a grass-roots group, wants county Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey to file murder charges in the death of Ezell Ford Jr., a 25-year-old mentally ill man who was fatally shot by police in August.

The autopsy report, released Monday, showed that Ford was struck three times, once in the right side, once in the right arm, and once in the back at close range. The Ford family and their attorney argued that the report showed that the shooting was unjustified.

Officers said Ford was shot during a violent struggle in which he forced one officer to the ground and grabbed  his gun. Police Chief Charlie Beck cautioned earlier this week that the report gave an incomplete picture of what happened and said an internal investigation was ongoing.

The Los Angeles Police Department had withheld the report for months after the shooting, arguing it could influence the stories told by any witnesses, but Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered it to be released before the end of last year.

Jubilee Shine, an organizer with the coalition, said activists are also pressing for the public release of an autopsy report for Omar Abrego, a 37-year-old man who died in August after a physical confrontation with two gang unit sergeants. Police said they sought a hold on the report because investigators were still seeking witnesses.

Abrego died more than a week before Ford, Shine said. "It's absurd that his autopsy is still concealed," Shine said. "The public and the family have a right to know how and why this man was killed by the police."

Shine said the coalition wants Lacey to file charges against police in Abrego's death as well, and for U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder to pursue federal charges for civil rights violations against both men. Protesters are planning to gather at 65th and Broadway early Saturday afternoon.

Staff writers Richard Winton and Kate Mather contributed to this report.

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