Two days after unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, MO, another unarmed black man, Ezell Ford, was also shot and killed by police. This shooting occurred on August 11, 2014, on South Grand Avenue in Los Angeles. A nationwide protest movement, linking the Ford and Garner cases along with that of Tanesha Anderson and several others, is ongoing. The police say the results of Ford’s autopsy, released today, confirm that the shooting was justified. Ford's family disagrees.
This is a developing story.
According to the Los Angeles Times, police chief Charlie Beck says the autopsy findings were consistent with the police version of the incident, which describes Ford holding one officer down, forcing another officer to begin firing. Then, police say, the officer on the ground used his backup gun to shoot Ford at close range.
The coroner’s document lists three gunshot wounds, two of which — one in Ford's abdomen and one in his back — are described as “fatal." The third wound, in Ford’s right arm, is deemed “non-fatal.”
According the BBC, Beck has said that investigators are having trouble finding any eyewitnesses to the incident and are appealing to the public for help. Ford’s family has filed a $75 million civil suit against the city, calling the shooting “murder” and (again, according to the Times) “more like an execution than a confrontation.”
Tensions between the LAPD and the community have long been tense, dating back to the Watts riots, the beating of Rodney King, and many other incidents. Ford’s death amplified the protests already happening in Los Angeles in response to Eric Garner’s death. Last night, a crowd shut down the Santa Monica Freeway, among other actions.
We will continue to update this story.