**Please note that the information set forth below is based on the evidence known at this point in the ongoing use of force investigation.**
Earlier this morning LAPD Chief Charlie Beck requested the Los Angeles County Coroner to remove its “security hold” on the release of the Autopsy Report for Ezell Earl Ford. The Report sets forth the Coroner’s anatomic findings on the death of Mr. Ford who was involved in an altercation with LAPD officers on August 11, 2014 resulting in an officer-involved shooting.
The LAPD had requested a security hold in order to locate and interview witnesses to the incident who were not influenced by public reports of the coroner’s findings. This was necessary to maintain the integrity and reliability of any witness accounts. After several weeks of searching for witnesses and making multiple public appeals for witnesses to come forward, the LAPD has determined that it is appropriate to request a release of the security hold at this time.
August 11, 2014 Incident and Coroner’s Findings
At approximately 8:10 p.m. on August 11, 2014, two uniformed LAPD officers assigned to the Newton Area Gang Enforcement Detail were driving in a marked patrol car westbound on 65th Street when they saw Mr. Ford on an adjacent sidewalk. The officers stopped and got out of their patrol car to speak with him. After looking in the direction of the officers, however, Mr. Ford walked away and the officers observed him attempting to conceal his hands. The officers followed Mr. Ford on the sidewalk to a nearby driveway when Mr. Ford crouched in between a car and a row of bushes. One of the officers reached for Mr. Ford when Mr. Ford suddenly turned, grabbed the officer and forced the officer to the ground. While on top of the officer, Mr. Ford grabbed the officer’s handgun and attempted to remove the gun from its holster. The officer yelled out to his partner that Mr. Ford had his gun. The officer’s partner then fired two rounds striking Mr. Ford. At about the same time, the officer on the ground while on his back grabbed his backup weapon, reached around Mr. Ford and fired one shot at close range striking Mr. Ford in the back.
The officers subsequently took Mr. Ford into custody and requested emergency medical aid from the Los Angeles Fire Department. LAFD paramedics arrived and transported Mr. Ford to California Hospital where his death was pronounced at 10:10 p.m.
The Coroner’s Autopsy Report identified that Mr. Ford’s death was caused from a fatal gunshot wound to his right flank and a contact wound to his right back. The Coroner also found evidence of a non-fatal gunshot wound to Mr. Ford’s right arm.
Since the shooting, LAPD investigators have attempted to identify witnesses to the incident and have made multiple appeals to the public for witnesses to come forward. Over the past several months, the LAPD also sent written requests to the attorney representing the Ford family in their lawsuit against the City to provide any information that could assist in the investigation. On December 15, 2014, the LAPD received a copy of a witness list produced as part of their civil litigation and attempted to contact all of individuals identified. Some of the individuals listed by the Ford family’s attorney, however, have refused to be interviewed and the Department continues to search for the remaining witnesses.
The LAPD’s specialized Force Investigation Division, in coordination with the Office of the Inspector General and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, continue to investigate the incident and seek the public’s help in providing any information that could assist in determining the facts of the case. Once the investigation is completed, the case will be considered by the L.A. District Attorney’s Office and the Board of Police Commissioners. The civilian members of the Board of Police Commissioners will make the final determination whether the officer-involved shooting was consistent with LAPD’s use of force policy.
LAPD Continues to Seek the Public’s Assistance
The LAPD continues to seek the public’s help to provide any information about the incident and urges witnesses to come forward and contact the LAPD ((213) 486-5230), the Office of the Inspector General ((213) 482-6833) or the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or send a text message to 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most phone keypads) beginning with the text “LAPD.” Anonymous tips may also be submitted at LAPDOnline.org by clicking on the “WebTips” link.