The Los Angeles Police Department has cleared officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas in the shooting death of Ezell Ford, the Los Angeles Times reports.
As previously reported by NewsOne, on August 11, 2014, Ford, 24, was walking along 65th Street in Los Angeles when he was approached by Wampler and Villegas. The officers would later claim that they suspected that Ford attempted to dump narcotics and reach for one of the officer’s guns when they attempted to detain him.
Neither one of those things have proven to be true; in fact, they contradict eyewitnesses who claim that Ford was face-down when he was shot.
“He feared the police, he knew they had power,” Tritobia Ford said to the Los Angeles Times. “There’s no way that anyone could ever convince me that my son grabbed their gun.”
Ford was shot three times, once in the back at such close range the muzzle of the gun left an imprint.
Read more from LATimes.com:
Alex Bustamante, the Los Angeles Police Department’s inspector general, found the shooting justified, but he faulted the officers for how they approached Ford in the moments leading up to the shooting, according to the sources.
Bustamante concluded in his report to the Police Commission that it was unclear whether the officers’ observations were sufficient justification to approach Ford and then try to detain him, the sources said.
And as the officers reached Ford, Wampler put his hands on him — a move that Bustamante found unacceptable. Department protocols instruct officers in such situations to address a suspect from a position of safety, such as behind an open car door.
Ford’s death became a local rallying cry against killings by police, particularly those of black men. Ford, who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, died two days after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., which prompted nationwide demonstrations and a heated conversation about race and policing.
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