Activists demand state-level prosecutor review police shootings amid Ezell Ford death

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On the two-year anniversary of the shooting death of Ezell Ford, demonstrators demanded that the Los Angeles County district attorney release the findings on his death and prosecute the two officers involved. (KABC)

On the two-year anniversary of the shooting death of Ezell Ford, demonstrators demanded that the Los Angeles County district attorney release the findings on his death and prosecute the two officers involved.

It was a renewed call for action Thursday. Chief Beck had said the shooting of 25-year-old Ford, who was mentally ill, was justified when he went after an officer's weapon in August 2014. But the Police Commission ruled one officer had acted out of policy.

"At night, I can hardly sleep because I think about my child and what happened to him," Ford's mother, Tritobia Ford, said.

A separate coalition proposed a solution Thursday to obtain more transparency. They propose that a special state-level prosecutor be involved in police shooting investigations because current practices are biased, they said.

The Los Angeles Police Department has separate entities within the department which are monitored by the local office of the inspector general and district attorney's office. Critics have responded that that's not enough.

"When you have police agencies investigating themselves, it's not going to work because there's just too many problems and obstacles," said Earl Ofari Hutchinson with the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable.

The model the coalition proposes are laws in Illinois, Utah and Wisconsin, which all require that the personnel investigating a deadly officer-involved shooting not be employed by the same department as the officer under review.

In New York, the governor has signed an order that the state attorney can investigate if there is a significant question as to whether the civilian shot was armed and dangerous.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris said that she has tapped the head of the civil rights section to monitor specific officer-involved shooting incidents that raise questions.

Yet activists are still calling for more. They are asking for Gov. Jerry Brown and the state legislature to authorize a special prosecutor because the stakes are so high.

In regards to the Ford investigation, the district attorney's office said they have 1,000 documents of witness statements to carefully review.
Related Topics:
newsofficer-involved shootingpolice shootinginvestigationkamala harrisjerry brownDowntown LALos Angeles County
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