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Autopsy Shows Ezell Ford Was Shot in Back During Incident With LAPD

ezell-ford-dlAn autopsy on Ezell Ford indicates that the unarmed 25-year-old Black man in Los Angeles was killed by gunshots to his side and back by police officers on August 11, just two days after Michael Brown was slain by Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo.

Police had ordered Ford’s autopsy report sealed, claiming the results could influence potential witness accounts during the investigation. The report showed that Ford had been shot three times: in the side, in the arm and in the back. The wound on his back left a muzzle imprint on his skin, indicating the gun had been pressed up against his body when fired.

The investigation is ongoing and LA Police Chief Charlie Beck said no determination had been made on whether the officers had been justified in shooting.

“There is nothing in the coroner’s report that is inconsistent with the statements given to us by the officers,” he said. “We are still looking for other versions of events.”

Ford’s killing at the hands of multiple officers was a major source of controversy, but received far less attention than the shooting of Brown, who was unarmed when he was gunned down by Wilson blocks from his home. Citizens have been protesting almost daily around the country since a grand jury decided that Wilson did not have to stand trial for Brown’s death.

A civil rights lawsuit and a $75-million claim against the city were filed by Ford’s family. In it, the family says Ford had a mental illness and was known by the two gang officers — Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas — in the neighborhood who were aware he had mental problems. The suit also accused the police of using excessive force and racial profiling against Black residents.

In the Ford shooting, he was approached on the night of Aug. 11 by two police officers who “observed him make movements that they regarded as suspicious,” Beck said yesterday. As the officers stepped toward him, according to the police account, Ford spun around and tackled one of them to the ground and lunged for his handgun.

It was then that the other officer shot twice, while the officer on the ground also fired his backup weapon, the police said.


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