LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Police Commission is scheduled Tuesday to review the controversial case of Ezell Ford, a mentally ill black man fatally shot by police last summer.
Between 40 to 50 protesters held up signs Monday night down the street from the Windsor Square home of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Many had pitched tents and brought sleeping bags, indicating they didn’t expect to leave anytime soon.
Earlier Monday, protesters told Garcetti he should stay in L.A. at a time of rising emotions and sharp criticism after reports that LAPD Chief Charlie Beck had reported to the commission that the officers involved in the death of Ford did not violate policy.
“It’s very disturbing that when issues of this magnitude come up for black folks and black Los Angeles, that the mayor seems to be consistently absent,” Melina Abdullah, an organizer with Black Lives Matter, said.
The mayor told the demonstrators he was going to Washington D.C. to try to get millions of dollars in federal funding to house the homeless in L.A., but Black Lives Matter says the mayor was also absent last November when hundreds of demonstrators were arrested while blocking streets to protest what they called police violence and shootings of blacks without justification.
Garcetti at that time was on a trade mission to Asia. His office says the charges that he is AWOL at crucial times are not born out of the facts.
But the leadership of Black Lives Matter in L.A. say there is a clear pattern.
“Our mayor is ducking these issues. Ultimately, we should be holding him accountable and he should be present to engage to the community he’s supposed to be leading. And so, for him to duck out is, I think, a very cowardly act,” Abdullah said.
On Tuesday, the Police Commission is scheduled to take up the issue of the Ford case and former L.A. Police Commission President Richard Drooyan says the commission will have a clear choice to make: did the officers act within policy or outside policy in the death of Ford?
“The Police Commission reviews the decision that the chief makes as to whether the shooting is in policy or out of policy and it has the ultimate authority as to the department’s determination as to whether a shooting is within the department’s policy or out of the policy,” Drooyan said.
More specifically, the commission will vote in a closed-door session about whether officers acted properly in the Ford case on three issues: tactics, use of force, and drawing a weapon.
If the commission finds an officer acted improperly outside department policy, the case will then go back to the police chief for disciplinary action.
Garcetti issued a statement that said: “I have confidence that the Police Commission will conduct an impartial and fair-minded review of the investigations conducted by both the LAPD and the independent Inspector General.”