LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck are asking any witnesses to the fatal police shooting of Ezell Ford in South L.A. on August 11 to come forward.
Garcetti and Beck spoke Thursday afternoon at a news conference at police headquarters downtown.
Ezell Ford, 25, was shot in an encounter with LAPD officers in South L.A. on August 11 on the 200 block of West 65th Street near his home at about 8:20 p.m. He was unarmed.
Garcetti said he will order Ford's autopsy to be released to the public by the end of the year. The autopsy has been on security hold by LAPD request.
The L.A. County District Attorney's Office has not received the case yet because police believe there are still people in the community who witnessed the shooting who have not come forward.
"We want the truth," said Beck. "We want witnesses' statements to be as untainted as possible. That is why we have held the autopsy. But we have no intention of denying the family or this community access to that autopsy forever."
"We can't afford to have anybody who may have seen something remain quiet. It's not fair to the family, it's not fair to the community, it's not fair to our police department and our police officers," said Garcetti.
"There are people out there we believe who may have seen what happened. And we will rely on them to help us move forward with this case," said Garcetti. "I'm asking anybody who may have seen anything to come forward. The more information that we have, the more questions we can put to rest."
Police said Ford was resisting arrest and was shot when he tried to remove an officer's handgun from its holster during a struggle. Witnesses dispute that account of the incident. Some witnesses told reporters Ford was face-down on the ground when he was shot.
Ford later died at a local hospital. No officers were injured.
Beck has previously said the reasons why Ford was stopped and why officers failed to use a Taser are under investigation. Family members say Ford was mentally challenged and harmless.
Investigators say people who claim to have seen what happened need to give their side of the story so the District Attorney can decide if the officers should face criminal charges.
"We need that information so that we can come to the right conclusion," said Beck. "The last thing that I, as chief of police and as somebody that has control over this investigation, want to do is move forward on partial information."
Community activists said they've also encouraged people to speak up on record.
"People fear the police," said community activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson. "People in that community fear coming forward because of all the history, of negative interactions they've had with the LAPD."
Ford's family has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the LAPD and the two officers who shot him, identified as Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas.
The Office of the Inspector General and the District Attorney's Office are investigating the use of deadly force.
Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to call the Force Investigation Division at (213) 486-5230, or (877) LAPD-24-7.
People reluctant to give their statement to police can call the District Attorney's Office to speak to investigators there at (213) 974-3608.