SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) A 25-year-old black man killed in a confrontation with Los Angeles police this summer was shot three times, including in his right side, right arm and his back, an autopsy report released Monday shows.
The report on the autopsy of Ezell Ford by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office corroborated the accounts of the two police officers who shot him, Police Chief Charlie Beck said Monday. But he stressed that the investigation, which is being handled jointly by the LAPD and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, was ongoing.
“This investigation is far from over,” said Beck, who added that “there is nothing in the coroner’s report that is inconsistent with officers’ versions of events.”
Beck also said the months-long order to withhold the report was necessary to “maintain the integrity and reliablity of all eyewitness accounts.”
Ford was unarmed when police confronted him on a street near his home Aug. 11. Police said officers tried to speak to him but ended up in a struggle and shot him when he tried to grab an officer’s gun.
The autopsy report stated that a muzzle imprint was found around the back wound and coroner’s investigators noted abrasions to Ford’s left hand, forearm and elbow.
Steve Lerman, an attorney for Ford’s parents, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Ford’s parents have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit and $75 million claim against the city.
The suit said two gang officers involved in the shooting — Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas — knew Ford from the neighborhood and were aware he had mental problems.
The suit also claimed that the city, LAPD and 10 unnamed superiors or other officers were part of a culture that tolerated civil rights violations, including racial profiling and excessive force against blacks.
The withholding of the autopsy report became an issue itself, but in November, Mayor Eric Garcetti promised that it would be released before year’s end.
“I believe all of us benefit when objective information is made available, as it is today,” Garcetti said in a statement Monday afternoon. “That’s why witnesses must come forward without delay. And that’s why violence in our streets or against the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department will not be tolerated.”
Tyler Izen, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, said in a statement that the autopsy presented only “one set of facts among many hundreds being collected and assessed in the ongoing investigation.”
“LAPD officers are put directly in harm’s way every day as they face complex situations, unthinkable dangers and split-second decisions while protecting the residents of Los Angeles,” Izen said. “No officer goes to work with the intent of using force, much less deadly force, but force may become necessary when there is an objectively reasonable certainty that there could be injury to themselves or someone else. As tragic as these situations are, law enforcement officers absolutely have the right to defend their life or the life of another.”
Monday’s press conference comes at a time of heightened alert for the LAPD, one day after a patrol car was fired on in South Los Angeles in what a police captain called an “unprovoked attack.” One of the officers returned fire at two suspects. The officers nabbed one of the suspects and recovered the rifle.
Neither officer was hurt in the incident.