As local civil rights leaders met with Los Angeles Police Department officials on Thursday to discuss the fatal shooting of Ezell Ford earlier in the week, a rally and march was held in South L.A. to demand justice.
Ford was shot and killed by LAPD officers on Monday evening in the Florence neighborhood of South Los Angeles. Family members told KTLA the 25-year-old was complying with officer orders and lying on the ground when the shooting occurred.
The department gave a different account of events, however, stating that the man had ignored police instructions, grabbed an officer and tried to remove a handgun from the officer’s holster during a violent struggle on the ground, according to an LAPD news release.
Ford was identified by his mother, Tritobia Ford, who told KTLA the family was seeking justice for her son.
A cousin added that Ford had been shot in the back.
His death came days after Missouri teen Michael Brown was fatally shot by police in Ferguson, sparking outrage, demonstrations and sometimes-violent clashes with authorities.
Chanting “No justice, no peace,” about 100 protestors attended the rally and marched to the LAPD’s 77th Division station.
During the demonstration, Lavell Ford, the victim’s brother, made an emotional plea for justice.
“They killing us all, they killing us all. Blacks, Latinos, everybody, they just killing us. And we gotta take a stand,” Latrell Ford said. “It happens everyday around in this neighborhood, everyday. That could’ve been me laying out there.”
The family planned to hold another rally this weekend.
While LAPD still has not confirmed that Ezell Ford was the man shot and killed during an “investigative stop” on Monday, the LAPD’s union released a statement Thursday on what they referred to as the “Ezell Ford incident.”
In the statement, Los Angeles Police Protective League President Tyler Izen discussed instances in which officer’s used force.
“LAPD officers’ use of force is concise, consistent with prevailing law, and based on best police practices. Officers are permitted to use force that is objectively reasonable to defend themselves or others, to effect an arrest or detention, and/or to prevent escape or overcome resistance,” Izen said. “Officers are taught to evaluate a suspect’s behavior, the severity of the crime a suspect is committing or about to commit, and whether it is reasonable to conclude that the suspect’s behavior might cause serious injury to an officer or another person.
“If a suspect’s behavior is likely to cause serious bodily injury or death, an officer can, by law and under LAPD policy, use deadly force,” Izen added. “In using deadly force, officers can fire their weapons only to stop deadly threats to keep themselves and the public safe, and can continue to fire until the threat has ended.”
An investigation into the incident was continuing.
During Thursday’s meeting, Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson was expected to ask for the investigation to be “speedy” and “transparent,” according to a news release from the organization.
“The meeting will stress that the LAPD and all investigations into the Ford killing be speedy, transparent, no press leaks, and all eyewitnesses interviewed,” Hutchinson said in the release. “This is critically important given the tensions in the community surrounding the killing and in light of the turmoil in Ferguson, Missouri in the wake of the killing of Michael Brown.”
KTLA’s Melissa Pamer and John A. Moreno contributed to this report.