Slain California resident Ezell Ford’s autopsy report was released Monday evening.
The release comes less than three days before the deadline L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti mandated. Per the findings, Ford was shot in his right arm, right side, and back, with the back and side wounds being fatal, according to the report.
LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck said the findings don’t contradict departmental reports on what happened.
The police claimstwo officers stopped Ford on August 11th. Though their reason remains unspecified, they claim Ford walked away. Soon after, the officers confronted him in a nearby driveway. At this point, Ford reportedly began struggling with one of the officers, forcing him to the ground and allegedly wrestling away his gun.
The allegedly pinned officer’s partner then fired two shots at Ford. The officer on the ground then reached around with his backup weapon and shot Ford in his back at close range.
Four experts discussed the findings with the Los Angeles Times about the findings.
Merrick Bobb, a former civilian overseer of the Los Angeles County’s Sheriff Department, said nothing was “particularly remarkable” in the report to discredit the officers in his eyes.
“I don’t see anything that says, ‘Wait a minute, this just doesn’t sound right,'” added Ed Obayashi, an Inyo County Sheriff’s Deupty. While some may be disturbed by Ford getting shot in the back, “that’s not unusual; it happens all the time,” Obayashi said.
However, Obayashi did concede that questions about why the officers stopped Ford, especially in light of his known mental disabilities, will likely persist.
Sid Heal, former commanding SWAT team officer, said, “There’s nothing in there that’s inconsistent with what I’ve read in the press.”
Steven Lerman, who is the Ford family’s lawyer, strongly disagreed.
“You don’t shoot people in the back. Period. Under these circumstances. This is not a fleeing felon with a gun shooting over his shoulder when he ran. This is not that. This is not someone driving a car trying to hit officers. This was not that. There was an unprovoked assault on Mr. Ford,” Lerman told CBS Los Angeles.
Without official statements from the officers to compare with the report, though, Geoffrey Alpert, professor of criminology at the University Of South Carolina, added that it is too soon to determine if this shooting was justified.
“It’s irresponsible if you don’t have all the evidence,” the said.