LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Community activists in South Los Angeles Wednesday called for a meeting with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck to launch an investigation into an officer-involved shooting death of a 24-year-old man.
Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson met with reporters at the corner of 65th and Broadway, where Ezell Ford was killed Monday night during a struggle with police officers near his home.
KCAL9’s Kristine Lazar spoke with witnesses and officers about the nature of the crime.
“How do you explain this, when you have this level of deadly force against those that are not even accused of committing a crime, and are not even armed,” Hutchinson asked.
While relatives say Ford was mentally challenged and was following police orders prior to the shooting, a law enforcement official told CBS2/KCAL9 that Ford may have had gang ties.
“A fairly significant physical altercation ensued, where the suspect actually tried to obtain the officer’s gun,” said Acting Chief Earl Paysinger. “They fell to the ground, they were wrestling for the gun. It was a fairly violent life struggle.”
Police say the suspect was shot at three times and was transported to the hospital.
“He was lying on the ground, he couldn’t fight back,” said Ashanti Harrison, witness of the crime. “Two big cops were on top of him, he couldn’t fight back.”
The results of his autopsy will clarify where Ford was injured, officials said.
A protest is scheduled for 3 p.m Sunday in front of LAPD Headquarters in downtown LA.