Ezell Ford, 25, was shot and killed by LAPD officers near his home in Los Angeles' Florence neighborhood Monday evening. Ford was unarmed, and a man who identified himself as a witness told local news outlet KTLA that cops shot Ford multiple times in the back while he laid down on the sidewalk.
According to the same man, who told KTLA he was Ford's cousin but did not give his name, Ford had "mental complications" that local police officers should have known about:
"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 man 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."
The LAPD's story sharply differs. According to the department, officers "conducted an investigative stop," after which a "struggle ensued." KTLA reports that the department is investigating to find whether the officer's weapon may have been involved in the alleged struggle. The officer involved was reportedly placed on paid leave.
Tritobia Ford, Ezell's mother, said she was pushed to the ground and denied information about her son's hospitalization when she arrived at the scene, the latter of which claims the LAPD also disputes.
The news comes just days after the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri last week.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, called for LAPD Chief Charlie Beck to meet with community leaders. From KTLA:
"The killing of Ezell Ford — coming on the heels of the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson, Missouri — again raises the issue and problem of tense police-community relations," Hutchinson said in a statement. "This is the sole reason we have called for a meeting … to get all the facts in the shooting and for assurances that the shooting will be subject to the most rigorous review to determine if there was any wrongdoing in Ford's death."