LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — The family of a black man killed last month by Los Angeles police has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the department and the two officers who shot him.
Lawyers for Ezell Ford’s family filed the suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court. They also filed a $75 million claim — a precursor to a state lawsuit — against the city.READ MORE: Several Small Burbank Shops Targeted In Early Morning Burglary Spree
“Today brings us to a start, a start in a search for justice,” said attorney Steven Lerman, who’s representing the Ford family.
The 25-year-old was unarmed when police confronted him Aug. 11 on a street near his home in South L.A.. Officers said they shot him when he tried to grab a gun during a struggle.
Police Chief Charlie Beck said at one point Ford had his hand on the officer’s gun.
Family members say Ford was mentally ill and was harmless. A friend has said she witnessed the confrontation and didn’t see Ford struggle.READ MORE: LA Artist Paul Daniels Proves It's Never Too Late To Pursue What You Love
“A disarmed, unarmed, helpless, hapless person was shot to death for no other reason than these officers were bored on a Monday night at eight o’clock,” Lerman said. “And they knew Ezell Ford was handicapped. They knew he was incapable of doing any harm to anybody.”
Lerman had this to say about the LAPD’s version of events: “I think the evidence that we will bring to bear in the federal court case will show that that’s complete nonsense. They knew this man was unarmed. They knew that he was basically helpless and harmless. And yet they proceeded to attack him, bring him to the ground, shot and kill him without justification.”
The killing inspired several protests in the city.
The LAPD, the Police Commission and the L.A. District Attorney’s Office are investigating the shooting.MORE NEWS: Parolee Aariel Maynor Arrested In Connection With Jacqueline Avant Killing After Shooting Himself In The Foot
(TM and ©Copyright 2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)