Community protests police slaying of South Los Angeles man

Friday, August 15, 2014
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Family and community members protested Thursday the fatal police shooting of a South Los Angeles man.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Family and community members protested Thursday the fatal police shooting of a South Los Angeles man who was mentally ill.

The protesters marched south on Broadway towards the Los Angeles Police Department's 77th Division chanting the victim's name, "Ezell Ford, Ezell Ford."

"He was a good person, really good person. To know him was to love him," Ford's younger brother Lavell said. "He never meant no harm. He wasn't even a violent person."

Ezell Ford, 25, was fatally shot Monday night by two Los Angeles Police Department gang officers who were conducting an investigative stop, officials said.

Officers said Ezell Ford grabbed an officer, they fell to the ground and then Ezell tried to grab the officer's gun.

"In a life struggle for that weapon, the partner officer actually shot two times. And ultimately the officer where the suspect was on top, he actually fired a round himself," LAPD Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger said.

Witnesses disputed LAPD's version of what happened.

"He put his hands up. They wrestled him down to the ground. One shot went off. Two seconds went by and another shot went off. And then the other officer told him to shoot him again," witness Ashanti Harrison said.

Los Angeles Police Protective League President Tyler Izen warned of relying on statements from people claiming to be citizens.

"While a factual investigation unfolds at a deliberate and slower pace, an inaccurate narrative can be created before the actual facts are determined. The Ezell Ford incident on August 11, 2014, in Newton Area is no exception, as we have read and viewed some inaccurate reports of what occurred," Izen said in a statement.

Civil rights groups met with the LAPD officials Thursday afternoon asking for a speedy and transparent investigation. They also wanted to make sure police get witness statements.

"We don't want to find out much down the line that an investigation is complete, the officers were exonerated. That's not just, that's not fair and it's certainly not transparent," said Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable.

The LAPD is asking the public to submit any evidence, such as videos or other information, while the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call Force Investigation Division at (213) 486-5230, or the Office of the Inspector General at (213) 482-6833.