Protesters said Wednesday they will stay camped outside Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's home until a decision is reached on the fate of two police officers involved in the death of Ezell Ford. Jasymyne Cannick, an organizer with the national Black Lives Matter movement, said the protesters were demanding the resignation of Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.
“I know that Chief Beck likes to talk about how things are great with black people in South LA but they’re really not,” she told KABC. She said firing Beck would send the message the mayor is paying attention to the community's needs.
The Los Angeles Police Commission announced Tuesday night that a Los Angeles police officer was not justified for his role in the fatal shooting of Ford, while another officer had followed the department's policy. "This is a tragedy for all involved, the family, relatives, loved ones and friends of Mr. Ford, as well as the involved police officers," said Steve Soboroff, the commission's president.
His mother, Tritobia Ford, said while she was "a little disappointed" with the Police Commission's conclusions, the ruling "strongly, on the record, stated that what happened to Ezell was wrong." "He was my baby," she said of her son.
Ford, a mentally-ill black man, was unarmed when he was killed by LAPD officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas near his South Los Angeles home on Aug. 11, 2014. Police claimed the 25-year-old was resisting arrest and grabbed an officer's handgun, but Ford's family denied that account, ABC 7 in Los Angeles reported. The commission found Wampler should not have drawn his weapon or used lethal and nonlethal force.
Beck said in a statement Tuesday night, "The Police Commission is an independent civilian review authority, appointed by the Mayor to represent the people of Los Angeles. I respect the process and the decision made in this matter."
Attorney Steven Lerman, who represents Ford’s family, said both officers violated the department's policy. “It is a pitiful example of police gone wrong,” Lerman told the Associated Press. “They never should have stopped the guy.”