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

A coalition of religious and community groups announced Wednesday it plans to begin a recall effort targeting Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey over her decision not to prosecute the two Los Angeles police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Ezell Ford.

The District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that no charges will be filed against the two officers. Ford’s 2014 death has been a focal point of protests against the Los Angeles Police Department over police shootings of black suspects.

In a 28-page report detailing its investigation into Ford’s Aug. 11, 2014, shooting death, the District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division concluded that Los Angeles police Officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas “acted lawfully in self-defense and in defense of others.”

A coalition announced Wednesday it will begin a recall effort over Lacey’s refusal to file charges in connection with Ford’s death “and her refusal to criminally prosecute other officers who have killed or used excessive force against citizens.”

“Lacey has betrayed the trust of our community and has essentially been useless in terms of protecting our citizens from police murder and abuse,” a coalition statement said. “Ezell Ford was killed while walking home minding his own business.”

The coalition was described in the statement as including the National Action Network, Project Islamic Hope, Weller Street Baptist Church and a coalition of activists.

Ford’s family, which sued the department over the shooting in 2015, contended that Ford was “mentally challenged” and wasn’t doing anything wrong when he was approached by the offices.

Police and prosecutors said the two LAPD Newton Area gang enforcement officers approached Ford, 25, because he was acting suspiciously and may have been trying to discard an illegal substance. A struggle ensued.

Ford — who was shot three times — was taken to California Medical Center Hospital, where he died less than two hours later.

“After looking at this for a couple of years and taking, you know, all of the measures to talk to everyone that we possibly could, we believe that we would not be justified as an office filing murder charges in this case,” Lacey told reporters Tuesday.

“What was persuasive is the physical evidence in this case supported what the officers said, which is Officer Wampler was on the bottom, Ford was on top of him and was struggling with him for control of his service weapon, which was in his holster at his side,” the district attorney said.

—City News Service

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