Police Commission to discuss LAPD shooting of Ezell Ford next week

Passersby pause at a memorial to Ezell Ford, who was shot and killed by the LAPD last summer.

Passersby pause at a memorial to Ezell Ford, who was shot and killed by the LAPD last summer.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The civilian commission that oversees the Los Angeles Police Department is expected to decide Tuesday whether last summer’s fatal shooting of Ezell Ford was within department policy, sources said.

The Police Commission is scheduled to discuss the shooting in closed session after its weekly public meeting, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. The commission’s agenda, published Friday, listed a shooting involving two officers as one of the items to be heard in closed session.

As with all LAPD shootings, the commissioners will evaluate whether the officers followed department rules in their tactics, drawing of their weapons and use of force.


Nearly 10 months have passed since the Aug. 11 shooting of Ford, which became a local rallying cry against killings by police, particularly those against black men. Ford, who was black and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, died two days after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., prompting nationwide demonstrations and a heated conversation about race and policing.

Ford’s death was investigated by the LAPD and the Police Commission’s inspector general. The district attorney’s office is also reviewing the case.

Last year, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the officers told investigators they shot Ford during a violent struggle in which he forced one officer to the ground and grabbed his gun. The officer said he yelled for help, Beck said, prompting his partner to fire rounds at Ford. The officer on the ground used a backup weapon to reach around Ford’s body and shoot him in the back.

An autopsy showed Ford was shot three times, including once so closely in the back that the muzzle of the officer’s gun left an imprint.

The department has not said why the officers stopped the 25-year-old, who was walking on West 65th Street near Broadway.

Some have questioned the police account. Soon after the incident, one unidentified man told KTLA-TV Channel 5 that Ford was shot in the back while lying down, an account that contributed to a backlash on social media against the LAPD.

This week, Ford’s mother said she was frustrated by the lack of information from the LAPD about her son’s death. Tritobia Ford said she hoped to see justice for her son.

“I’m tired of waiting,” she said.

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