LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — No charges will be filed against LAPD officers in the fatal 2014 shooting of Ezell Ford, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
A 28-page report (PDF) from the District Attorney’s Office states that Officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas acted legally and in self-defense when they shot Ford on Aug. 11, 2014, in the 200 block of West 65th Street in South Los Angeles.
A struggle ensued after officers approached the 25-year-old Ford when they believed he was trying to discard an illegal substance, according to police and prosecutors.
At the time of the shooting, Ford was on top of Wampler trying to grab the officer’s gun and “was posing an immediate threat to his safety and his partner’s safety,” according to the District Attorney’s Office report.
“In fear for their lives, Villegas and Wampler each responded with deadly force,” the report stated.
According to the report, Ford’s DNA was found on Wampler’s holster, corroborating the officer’s account that Ford was trying to grab his service weapon. A witness also told District Attorney investigators that she heard one of the officers say, “Let go of the gun, let go of the gun!”
Ford was transported to a hospital, where he died.
“Our office has a daunting challenge each and every time there is an officer-involved shooting,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. “In this case, we did everything we could to ensure a comprehensive investigation. Although the loss of Mr. Ford’s life is tragic, we believe the officers’ actions were legally justified and the evidence supports our decision.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti issued the following statement in response to the decision: “I accept the decision made by the District Attorney, but rededicate my administration to the search for better ways to protect the safety of all
Angelenos, and reiterate my support for the Police Commission’s goal of reinforcing de-escalation in the training of our officers.”
(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)