Los Angeles – On Tuesday, June 9, 2015, Police Commission President Steve Soboroff stated the following:
“This morning, my fellow Police Commissioners and I completed the long and extremely difficult task of carefully reviewing and making a decision regarding the use of force incident which resulted in the death of Mr. Ezell Ford, 25 years of age, on August 11, 2014.
This is a tragedy for all involved, the family, relatives, loved ones and friends of Mr. Ford, as well as the involved police officers. To the Ford family, my fellow Police Commissioners and I extend our sincere sympathies for your profound loss.
I would like to give a brief review of the investigative process that took place in this investigation, and in all deadly use of force incidents involving Los Angeles Police Officers. The investigation into the facts of the events was completed by the Los Angeles Police Department Force Investigation Division, which is comprised of very experienced and skilled investigators, in accordance with guidelines that have been in place for a number of years as a result of the past Federal Consent Decree. The completed investigation is presented to the Los Angeles Police Department Use of Force Review Board, which is comprised of Command Staff members of the Department. Upon their review, they make a recommendation to the Chief of Police for his consideration.
The Chief of Police then provides the Police Commission with his analysis of the investigation and recommendations as to the findings in three specific areas: Tactics of the involved officers, Drawing of the Firearm by the involved officers, and the Use of Deadly Force by the involved officers. That document will be available via a California Public Records Request, with the names of the involved officers redacted, this afternoon.
While the Department is conducting its investigation, our Inspector General Alexander Bustamante and members of his staff, on behalf of the Police Commission, are involved in monitoring the investigation from the initial steps of responding to the scene, through attending the Use of Force Review Board. The Inspector General is given unfettered access to all of the investigative materials. The Inspector General provides the Police Commission with an independent analysis and recommendation into the same three areas that the Chief of Police does: Tactics, Drawing, and Use of Deadly Force.
As is the case in all Categorical Use of Force incidents, the Inspector General will have available for public review an Abridged Summary of his analysis of this incident, on behalf of the Police Commission, on the Department website, www.lapdonline.org by the end of the work day today.
The Police Commission has had copies of all of the investigative materials for our review for a period of time which we have all done. This morning, the Police Commission was given a presentation by the Force Investigation Division investigators with a very thorough and complete overview of this investigation. The presentation was followed with a discussion with the Chief of Police and Inspector General relative to their respective analysis of the incident and the three areas of Tactics, Drawing and Use of Deadly Force.
The Los Angeles Police Department has the most extensive investigative processes into use of deadly force incidents in the Country. Our review of this incident has been intensive. This Commission takes its responsibility to the community and the Los Angeles Police Department very seriously when considering incidents in which Los Angeles Police Officers use deadly force. I am confident that we have been presented a very thorough and complete investigation, with analysis provided by skilled and talented members of the Los Angeles Police Department and our Inspector General’s office. Our analysis has been deliberate, thoughtful, and compassionate based on our best understanding of the facts.
The recommendation of the Chief of Police for all officers was that their actions were in policy in all three areas.
The recommendation of the Inspector General as it relates to Tactics, was one officer out of policy and one officer in policy. As it relates to the Drawing and Use of Force, the officers’ actions were in policy.
Now that this extensive investigation is complete, this civilian oversight body has made our decision on this incident relative to the appropriateness in each of the three areas, Tactics, Drawing and Use of Force.
TACTICS As it relates to the Tactics in this incident, the Police Commission found Tactical Debrief for both officers, the Tactics employed by one Police Officer III Administrative Disapproval and one Police Officer II In Policy, No Further Action. VOTE UNANIMOUS
DRAWING OF THE WEAPON Relating to the Drawing of the Weapon, the Police Commission found that the Drawing of the Weapon by one Police Officer III Administrative Disapproval and one Police Officer II, first drawing Administrative Disapproval and second drawing In Policy, No Further Action. VOTE UNANIMOUS
NON-LETHAL USE OF FORCE Regarding the Non-Lethal Use of Force the Police Commission found that the Non-Lethal Use of Force by one Police Officer III was Administrative Disapproval and one Police Officer II In Policy, No Further Action. VOTE UNANIMOUS
USE OF FORCE Regarding the Use of Force, or firing of the weapon, the Police Commission found that the Use of Force by one Police Officer III was Administrative Disapproval and one Police Officer II In Policy, No Further Action. VOTE UNANIMOUS
Consistent with the Los Angeles City Charter, disciplinary matters relevant to the Administrative Disapproval finding for the involved officers for this case will now be determined by the Chief of Police.
Pursuant to California law, my fellow Commissioners and I, along with those who were present in the closed session meeting, are unable to divulge any of the information discussed during those meetings, including our justification leading to our individual decisions.
The determination as to the criminal culpability for the involved officers is the responsibility of the Los Angeles County District Attorney and not within the authority of the Chief of Police or Police Commission.
This incident has changed all involved in it forever. My fellow Police Commissioners and I clearly understand the grief and loss the Ford family will feel forever, as well as the impact on the involved police officers. Our compassion and thoughts will remain with them.”