Lead Story News West Edition

Police Commission to hear reports on Ezell Ford death

LOS ANGELES — The Police Commission on Tuesday will consider the findings of two investigations into the Aug. 11 fatal police shooting of Ezell Ford, sources told City News Service.

The shooting of the 25-year-old, unarmed black man sparked months of protests last year and calls by community activists for a transparent investigation.

Ford was shot by officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas in the 200 block of West 65th Street.

Wampler, a 12-year veteran of the LAPD, and Villegas, an eight-year veteran, were both reassigned to administrative duties afterward.

Police have said the officers were approaching the unarmed black man, who was making “suspicious movements,” when he turned and “grabbed one of the officers.”

“During the struggle, they fell to the ground and [Ford] tried to remove the officer’s handgun from its holster,” according to the LAPD’s official account of the shooting. “The partner officer then fired his handgun and the officer on the ground fired his backup weapon at the individual.”

Autopsy results showed Ford was shot three times — in the right side of his back, the right arm and the right abdomen. The gunshot wounds to the back and the abdomen were both fatal, according to the report.

Ford was pronounced dead in an operating room at California Hospital Medical Center.

The autopsy report noted that the gunshot wound on Ford’s back had “muzzle imprint,” indicating the shot was fired at close range, and that Ford had some marijuana in his system.

The family’s attorney, Steven Lerman, said Ford was “mentally challenged,” a fact known to the officers, and was not doing anything wrong when he was stopped. He also alleged the two officers involved in the shooting were “poorly trained” and have a documented “pattern and practice” of reckless conduct on the streets.

Ford’s family filed a $75 million federal lawsuit against the city last September, contending that Ford was shot while complying with police orders to lay on the ground. The family also filed a complaint in state court in March.