A long-awaited, police-delayed autopsy has sparked protests across Los Angeles after revealing that police shot Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old, unarmed black man, three times– including a fatal shot in his back.
Police say Ford reached for an officer’s gun during “an investigative stop,” and was shot during the struggle.
Ford’s parents filed a lawsuit for $75 million, alleging a police culture of racial profiling and excessive force against blacks. The family’s lawyer has said Ford was mentally challenged, and the suit alleges that officers involved in the shooting were aware of this.
Reports of the incident are eerily similar to that of Michael Brown: An alleged struggle over a firearm; an unarmed black man shot to death; reactionary protests. In fact, Ford’s death occurred just two days after Michael Brown’s.
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This death has taken longer to gain the same national attention because police delayed the release of the autopsy. “We don’t want the witnesses’ testimony to be tainted,” LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith told KPCC News. Witness “could use information from the autopsy to give credibility to their story,” Smith explained.
The delay, however, may only aggravate critics more: Protesters have already taken to the streets, and Ford could become the newest hero of the growing movement.
This news comes with Los Angeles Police Department already on high alert. LAPD officers barely dodged bullets Sunday night when two gunmen fired at their car– one of several instances of recent attacks on police nationwide.
An attacker motivated by police killings ambushed and killed NYPD Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramon while they were sitting in their patrol car on Dec. 20.
Since then, NYPD officers have publicly demonstrated against Mayor Bill de Blasio, turning their backs on him on multiple occasions because of the attacks and what they say is de Blasio ginning up anger against police.
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