Tensions are high in Los Angeles as a decision regarding the police shooting of 25-year-old Ezell Ford is quickly approaching.
Ford was yet another unarmed Black man that was shot multiple times just days after a Ferguson, Mo., officer gunned down unarmed teen Michael Brown.
Police claimed that Ford was trying to grab the officer’s gun in the midst of a physical altercation but eyewitnesses say Ford was shot several times as he already lie on the ground. Some even say that he was shot at close range—a claim supported by the discovery of a “muzzle imprint” on his back.
But as the Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck and the department’s inspector general Alex Bustamante are making a push for the officers to be cleared of any wrongdoing, citizens are urging the mayor to relieve the men of their duties.
A group of roughly a dozen protesters gathered at Mayor Eric Garcetti’s home on Monday to call specifically for Beck to be fired after he allegedly insisted that neither of the officers involved in Ford’s death did anything wrong.
The group touted signs and left messages written in chalk on the sidewalk that not only took aim the LAPD but also showed support for Ford and his family. Demonstrators spoke to reporters and told them that what they want the most is justice for the unarmed, mentally ill man who they say didn’t deserve to die on that tragic August day back in 2014.
“I hope they give us some justice,” Dedric Kennedy, one of the protesters, told the Huffington Post. “This has been going on for 40 or 50 years—the police doing whatever they want to do in LA. It’s a dire situation out here. Beck should be fired immediately.”
While the mayor hasn’t made a decision to fire anyone, he did reach out to Ford’s mother to send his condolences. The demonstrators weren’t impressed with the message and want meaningful action rather than more flowery words.
Details surrounding Ford’s death are murky and with little concrete evidence, authorities are still trying to piece together the full story of what may have happened.
Two of the wounds were determined to be fatal, a finding that many suggest is enough to prove the officers reacted with too much force.
But the lines of right and wrong become blurred in a legal sense when it comes to the other evidence from the scene.
Ford’s DNA was discovered on the officer’s gun and scratch marks were seen on the gun holster. It suggests that someone did at least make a grab for the gun and when paired with Ford’s DNA it suggests he very well could have been the culprit.
But the legal tit-for-tat doesn’t end there.
The five-person civilian police commission did take issue with the initial approach made by officers as others have pointed out that the officers clearly didn’t know how to deal with a mentally ill suspect.
It creates a game of tug-o-war with evidence and testimony that makes the final decision hard to predict, although if history would be any indicator, the officers will be allowed to pick up their badges and return to the streets in no time.
The community in Los Angeles and the Black community all across the globe can only hope that this time Ford’s case will be different.