A South Los Angeles man was shot and killed by a Los Angeles Police Department officer Monday night following what authorities describe as an “investigative stop” in the South L.A. neighborhood of Florence. The young black man was involved in an altercation with officers during the stop, an LAPD news release says.
In its statement, the LAPD says a “struggle ensued” during the stop and officers fired at the man. He was taken to a local hospital, where surgery was performed on his wounds, but he later died from his injuries. No officers were injured in the incident.
In an interview with local station KTLA Tuesday evening, Tritobia Ford, who said she was the victim’s mother, identified the dead man as Ezell Ford, 25. She said that her son was complying with officers’ instructions and was on the ground when they fired at him. His family members say he was unarmed.
In an interview on Monday night at the shooting scene, a second witness told KTLA that officers used excessive force on Ford. The man did not give his name but identified himself as Ford's cousin. He offered a story similar to Tribtobia Ford's and added the man had "mental problems" that officers knew of before the shooting.
“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 witness 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.”
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The incident is being investigated by the LAPD and will be reviewed by the Chief of Police, the Office of the Inspector General and Board of Police Commissioners, the department said. The shooting will also be reviewed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division.
The officer who shot Ford is currently on paid administrative leave, Sgt. Barry Montgomery said.
Ford’s death comes just days after 18-year-old Mike Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri, by a police officer. Brown’s death has sparked protests and riots as citizens demand more information from authorities on what prompted the officer to shoot the young man, whom witnesses say was unarmed.