LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A source tells KNX 1070’s Claudia Peschiutta that the LAPD has determined the two officers involved in last year’s fatal shooting of Ezell Ford were justified.
An LAPD media spokesperson said Friday evening that she was unaware of any such findings. The department is expected to make a formal recommendation to the L.A. Board of Police Commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday, at which point the commission will make the final decision.
An attorney for the Ford family tells CBS2/KCAL9 the family would be devastated if they decide to clear the officers.
“The fact that there were leaks was appalling,” Board President Steve Soboroff told CBS2/KCAL9’s Erica Nochlin.
Soboroff wants to make it clear no final decision has been made: “Any intimation that anything has been decided by the department, or that anything has been decided by anyone, is unfair to the Ford family. And I apologize sincerely to them.”
Ford, 25, was killed Aug. 11 after he was approached by officers while walking in South L.A. He was shot three times. Officers maintain there was a violent struggle and Ford reached for one of their guns.
His family says he was mentally ill and harmless.
Ford’s death triggered protests and was a local example used in a nationwide debate over law enforcement’s use of force and alleged racial profiling.
Members of the South L.A. community and the group “Black Lives Matter” demanded the LAPD fire the officers involved and that L.A. County Attorney Jackie Lacey prosecute them.
“People are still hesitant to trust the police to investigate the police,” community activist Jasmyne Cannick. “And I think going forward both the police commission, the mayor, as well as the chief of police, they need to figure out how to restore that trust, and they haven’t done a very good job, thus far.”
Soboroff says the police commission will be releasing documentation, including the recommendation from the LAPD chief, after Tuesday’s announcement.
The LAPD says that Ford had a history with one of the officers accused of shooting him.
Ford reportedly was arrested by LAPD Officer Sharlton Wampler in 2008 for marijuana possession.
The report does not mention Ford’s purported mental illness or whether Wampler recognized Ford from their previous meeting.
LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith told the Los Angeles Times that both officers involved in the shooting insist they did not recognize Ford from the 2008 arrest or approach him for that reason.
In March, Ford’s family filed a new wrongful death lawsuit in state court. They’re seeking unspecified damages.
It’s unclear if that lawsuit will replace the first complaint the family filed in September in federal court.