LOS ANGELES (PIX11) — The autopsy for a mentally ill black man who was fatally shot by Los Angeles police officers in August showed he suffered three gunshot wounds.
Ezell Ford, 25, was shot during a confrontation with cops in South Los Angeles Aug. 11. The autopsy report, released Monday, said Ford was shot once in his right side, once in his right arm and once in his right back. The gunshot wounds on his back and side were fatal, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The unarmed Ford allegedly struggled with two officers and attempted to remove the pistol from the holster of one of the cops, the newspaper reported.
During an initial investigation, it was reported that LAPD Officers Sharlton Wampler, who is Asian American, and Antonio Villegas, who is Latino, tried talking to Ford as he walked along West 65th Street near Broadway.
Ford “continued walking and made suspicious movements, including attempting to conceal his hands” before turning around and getting physical with the officers, the newspaper reported.
But a friend of Ford’s family told the Los Angeles Times that there was no struggle between the man and the officers. According to his relatives, Ford suffered schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression.
His autopsy report was not immediately released because officials believed it would interfere with any accounts from possible witnesses. By the beginning of December, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said no new witnesses came forward to help investigators.
While Ford’s death has been ruled a homicide, the LAPD union said in a statement to Los Angeles Times that the autopsy report “only provides one set of facts among many hundreds being collected and assessed in its ongoing investigation concerning Ezell Ford.”
Ford’s parents Edsell and Tritobia Ford have since filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the police department. They accuse the police of racial profiling and using excessive force.
Ford’s death occurred two days after Michael Brown was fatally shot by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. Both deaths sparked ongoing protests in both cities demanding justice for the slain men.