A day before the Police Commission is scheduled to decide whether two LAPD officers acted within policy in the fatal shooting of Ezell Ford, Mayor Eric Garcetti said he was confident that commissioners would “conduct an impartial and fair-minded review.”
Garcetti’s statement came as about a dozen protesters continued to camp outside Getty House, the official mayoral residence in Windsor Square, demanding he take action over Ford’s death. The mayor also said he called Ford’s mother, Tritobia, on Sunday night and hoped to meet with her in the coming days.
“I didn’t reach her but left a message, telling her my heart goes out to her and her grieving family, as it has since the news first broke last August,” Garcetti said.
Tritobia Ford did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday morning. But one of the activists gathered outside Getty House said the mayor’s call was “a day late and a dollar short.”
“That doesn’t absolve him of responsibility. He is the mayor of Los Angeles. That means he has the capacity to meet our demands and really be held responsible for the police force,” said Melina Abdullah, a professor and chair of Pan-African studies at Cal State Los Angeles. “And if he won’t do that, we will hold him accountable in 2016.”
Protesters descended upon Garcetti’s house early Sunday morning, holding pictures of Ford above their heads as they outlined their demands. The demonstrators, part of the Black Lives Matter movement, called on Garcetti to fire LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and for the Police Commission to conduct its review of Ford’s shooting in a public forum.
The demonstration came just days after The Times reported that Beck and Alex Bustamante, the LAPD’s independent watchdog, have determined that two officers were justified in shooting Ford, a mentally ill black man, last summer in South L.A.
Department investigators found evidence indicating that Ford had fought for control of one officer’s gun, bolstering claims the officers made after the shooting, according to law enforcement sources who spoke on the condition that they not be identified because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the case.
Bustamante, however, faulted the officers for how they initially approached Ford.
Their recommendations will be considered by the Police Commission, the civilian board that oversees the LAPD and makes the final decision on uses of force. Commissioners will decide Tuesday whether the officers’ actions were within department policy.
The protesters said they were prepared to stay outside Garcetti’s house until Tuesday’s commission meeting. On Monday, Abdullah hinted they could stay longer. “All options are on the table,” she said.
By Monday morning, protesters had chalked messages on the sidewalk in front of the mayor’s home. Photos of Ford were stapled to nearby trees and hung from the mayor’s front gate. Also at the front gate was a cardboard sign: “Black Lives Matter."
About a half-dozen police officers stood down the block, watching the protest from afar.
Follow @katemather for more coverage of the Ezell Ford shooting.