LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Police Department came under fire Tuesday with community members demanding the firing of two officers accused in the deadly shooting of Ezell Ford.
Speaker after speaker verbally blasted the department during the Police Commission meeting, which spanned two hours, over the shooting death of the 25-year-old unarmed black man.
“Black lives matter, and members of the larger community demand that you remove Villegas and Wampler from the LAPD payroll and initiate the termination process,” one attendee said, referring to the officers, who are on paid leave.
KNX 1070’s Margaret Carrero reports that a friend of Ford’s also spoke, stating: “We all have pain in our hearts. We all are angry right now.”
Police said the two officers struggled with Ford before the fatal shooting in August.
The audience during the meeting stood at attention as one of the speakers addressed the commission as though he was Ezell Ford, stating: “I come from a community that knew I had a mental health condition.”
He continued, “On August 14, 2014, I was fatally shot in the back at close range.”
Before the meeting, the audience was told that neither the commission nor LAPD Chief Charlie Beck would discuss any aspect of the investigation until its completion, which is months away.
Both outside police headquarters and inside, security was tight.
“The D.A. is not prosecuting the killers of civilians,” one speaker said, while another stated: “We want to know whether or not they’re racist.”
Tension mounted throughout the meeting, and at the end, attendees spontaneously began chanting: “It’s our duty to fight for freedom! We must love each other and protect each other!”