SOUTH LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Emotions boiled over Tuesday night when South L.A. residents met with LAPD and city leaders in the wake of a deadly police shooting.
Community members met at Paradise Baptist Church demanding answers in the death of Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old man killed last Monday at 65th and Broadway.
Police said they were forced to shoot Ford, who was unarmed, after he got into an altercation with officers and tried to grab their weapons.
Ford’s family said he suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Witnesses said he was shot three times while on the ground.
“If you have officers that are going to go around and kill unarmed people then they’re no better than a common criminal,” a resident said at the meeting.
Ford’s death set off demonstrations in L.A. throughout the week — all this while the nation’s attention has been turned on Ferguson, Mo., where residents have been protesting the police shooting death of unarmed civilian Michael Brown.
Residents at Tuesday’s meeting said they’re also speaking out against police brutality here in South L.A.
“When your officers get out of the car, have them look at the door: it says ‘Protect and Serve’, not kick some ass…because that is what your officers do,” a man in the audience said to officials.
The Ford family chose not to speak publicly at the meeting.
The crowd at Tuesday’s meeting also wanted to know why police won’t release the autopsy findings.
“We want answers,” said Reymond Walker, a friend of the Ford family. “Is there a timeline for the autopsy report of Ezell Ford to be released to us, to our community, and will you release the names of officers?”
Police Chief Charlie Beck said it’s still to early to release the autopsy report, which isn’t yet “complete.”
“We don’t want to release the autopsy report too early so that we taint people coming forward,” Beck said.
Inspector General Alex Bustamante tried to mollify the crowd’s concerns: “We look from the very beginning and examine everything. This case, every issue, every witness question will be answered, whatever the facts are, whether they’re good for the department or bad for the department.”
“We need to know whether or not that was justifiable under the law, that is what the investigation is about,” Beck said.