Family says LA man was lying down, complying when fatally shot by police

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LOS ANGELES, CA — Family members said Tuesday that a 25-year-old man was complying with police orders when he was fatally shot by LAPD officers in the Florence neighborhood South Los Angeles.

Officers responded to a report of a possible officer-involved shooting at the intersection of West 65th Street and South Broadway at 8:12 p.m. Monday, Lt. Ellis Imaizumi of the Los Angeles Police Department said Monday evening.

Patrol officers had “conducted an investigative stop” in the 200 block of 65th Street, and “during the stop a struggle ensued” and police opened fire, an LAPD news release issued midmorning Tuesday stated.

Family members say Ezell Ford was lying face-down and complying when he was fatally shot by police.  (KTLA)

Family members say Ezell Ford was lying face-down and complying when he was fatally shot by police. (KTLA)

The man was transported to a hospital where he underwent surgery, according to Officer Sara Faden, spokeswoman for the LAPD. He later succumbed to his injuries, police confirmed.

Officers sustained minor scrapes during the altercation and did not require hospitalization, Imaizumi had said very early Tuesday. The news release stated no officers were injured.

Police were being tight-lipped with details about the incident because of a “gathering” at the scene of the shooting, Imaizumi said.

It was unknown if the “suspect” had any gang affiliations, police said in the news release.

A woman who said she was the deceased man’s mother identified him in a phone call to KTLA as Ezell Ford.

“My heart is so heavy,” Tritobia Ford said in an interview Tuesday evening. “My son was a good kid. He didn’t deserve to die the way he did.”

Her son was lying on the ground and complying with the officers’ commands when he was shot three times, Tritobia Ford said.

In the aftermath of the shooting, she said, police refused to inform her of where Ezell Ford was hospitalized.

An LAPD supervisor at the scene of the shooting was unaware of anyone being denied information, Faden said Tuesday.

The victim’s family members interviewed on camera at the scene of the shooting on Monday night supported Tritobia Ford’s account.

Officers are seen on a street in South Los Angeles where a man was fatally shot by police on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)

Officers are seen on a street in South Los Angeles where a man was fatally shot by police on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)

A man who did not give his name and identified himself only as a cousin of the victim described what he witnessed, saying he had been around the corner when the altercation first occurred.

“They laid him out and for whatever reason, they shot him in the back, knowing mentally, he has complications. Every officer in this area, from the Newton Division, knows that – that this child has mental problems,” the man said.

“The excessive force … there was no purpose for it. The multiple shootings in the back while he’s laying down? No. Then when the mom comes, they don’t try to console her … they pull the billy clubs out.”

The victim’s grandmother, who did not give her name, told KTLA in a phone conversation that he was 24. Other relatives insisted he was 25 years old.

An investigation was ongoing into the shooting, which came two days after Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, was killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri. The shooting in the St. Louis suburb sparked widespread anger, marches, confrontations with police and looting.

Reaction to the South Los Angeles shooting was spreading on social media Tuesday under the hashtag #EzellFord. A rally was being organized for 3 p.m. Sunday at LAPD headquarters, according to a Facebook invitation.

Civil rights leaders called for a meeting with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck over Ford’s shooting, according to Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson.

“The killing of Ezell Ford – coming on the heels of the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson, Missouri – again raises the issue and problem of tense police-community relations,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “This is the sole reason we have called for a meeting … to get all the facts in the shooting and for assurances that the shooting will be subject to the most rigorous review to determine if there was any wrongdoing in Ford’s death.”

The fatal incident was expected to be reviewed by Beck, the Office of the Inspector General and Board of Police Commissioners “for compliance with the department’s use-of-force policy, which states that an officer’s use-of-force actions must objectively reasonable,” the LAPD’s news release stated.

The officer who opened fire on Ford has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, according to Sgt. Barry Montgomery.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division was also expected to review the shooting.

Anyone with information was asked to call the LAPD’s Force Investigation Division at 213-486-5230.
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