Ezell Ford
Amid rising tensions, Los Angeles Police Department will release the autopsy results of Ezell Ford, an unarmed man shot and killed by police last summer. Courtesy photo

Prosecutors continue to review the case of the officer-involved shooting death of Ezell Ford a year ago, a spokeswoman for the office said Tuesday.

“The Ford case remains under review and we have no further comment,” Jane Robison of the District Attorney’s Office said.

It was not clear how many officers’ actions were under review by the District Attorney’s Office.

In June, the Los Angeles Police Commission ruled that Officer Sharlton Wampler’s use of deadly force in the death of the unarmed, mentally ill, man last Aug. 11 near 65th Street and Broadway violated Los Angeles Police Department policy, rejecting LAPD Chief Charlie Beck’s finding that Wampler had adhered to policy.

The commission ruled there was no reason to have detained Ford in the first place and that Wampler badly mishandled the encounter, leading to the fatal confrontation. It said its ruling was based on the “totality” of the circumstances, not just the moment when force was used.

Wampler’s partner, Antonio Villegas, was found to have been much less culpable, with the panel objecting to his initial decision to draw his weapon early in the confrontation but upholding his decision to fire at Ford to protect Wampler.

Police said the officers approached Ford for acting suspiciously, and he lunged at one of them and began trying to grab Wampler’s weapon.

A day after the police commission’s ruling, community activists called for District Attorney Jackie Lacey to file criminal charges against Wampler.

“We want justice,” community activist Najee Ali told reporters about two months ago. “We want Wampler prosecuted — at the very least for assault under color of authority. The community cares about Ezell Ford being shot and killed by the LAPD.”

Ford’s family filed a federal civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit last September against the LAPD, alleging Ford was shot in the back as he lay on the ground.

Craig Lally, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, said the union supported Beck’s findings that both officers involved in the shooting were justified and their actions were in policy.

“Chief Beck’s findings were based on facts presented and his over 40 years of law enforcement,” Lally said in a statement released after the police commission’s decision. “Every day, LAPD officers are put directly in harm’s way as they face complex situations, unthinkable dangers and split-second decisions all in an effort to protect the citizens of Los Angeles. On the other hand, we are extremely disappointed in the findings of the Police Commission.”

Lally contended the commission was swayed by protesters and external political influences, “resulting in a determination that was purely political and self-serving. We believe the commission’s decision was irresponsible and reckless and was solely made to avoid civil unrest.”

— City News Service 

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