A 24-year-old man has died after being shot by police during an encounter in the Florence neighborhood of South Los Angeles, officials said Tuesday.
The incident began at 8:12 p.m. when officers responded to a report of a shooting at the intersection of West 65th Street and South Broadway, said Lt. Ellis Imaizumi of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Eight minutes later, at 8:20 p.m., the officers stopped a man who was walking in the 200 block of 65th, authorities said.
“A struggle ensued” and police opened fire, according to a statement from the Police Department.
The man was transported to a hospital where he underwent surgery, according to Officer Sara Faden, spokeswoman for the LAPD. He later succumbed to his injuries. No officers were hurt in the incident.
It is unknown if the suspect has any gang affiliations, police said.
A woman who said she was the deceased man’s mother identified him as Ezell Ford.
Tritobia Ford said her son was lying on the ground and complying with the officers’ commands when he was shot.
Yet another one…It’s always a “struggle.” And why bring it up if it’s unknown. They know exactly what they’re insinuating. Be fearful of black people and not the police… This is insanity.
EZELL FORD WAS UNARMED. This happened just two days after Mike Brown’s murder. (8/11)
UPDATE: It has been reported that Ezell Ford was mentally disabled.
An eyewitness to the killing, Leroy Hill, describes what happened: “He wasn’t a gang banger at all. I was sitting across the street when it happened. So as he was walking down the street, the police approached him, whatever was said I couldn’t hear it, but the cops jumped out of the car and rushed him over here into this corner. They had him in the corner and were beating him, busted him up, for what reason I don’t know but he didn’t do nothing. The next thing I know I hear a ‘pow!’ while he’s on the ground. They got the knee on him. And then I hear another ‘pow!’ No hesitation. And then I hear another ‘pow!’ Three times.”
At one point while the police had Ford on the ground, but before the shooting took place, Hill said, he heard an officer yell, “Shoot him.”
Unrest has rocked the suburb in the days following Brown’s death. At least four people, including two police officers, have been hurt and 47 arrested in the aftermath of the shooting.
On Wednesday morning in South LA, a group of about 10 young and middle-aged men gathered at a makeshift sidewalk memorial lined with candles and signs that read “Police brutality must stop.”
The men at the memorial near the sight of the shooting were visibly shaken by the events that had unfolded there Monday night. They expressed anger toward the LAPD. They said that Ford wasn’t a gang member at all — that he was a “good guy,” a local man who was born and raised in the neighborhood, one whom everyone knew and liked, who routinely played basketball and who also suffered from some form of mental illness.
While all of the men said Ford suffered from some mental illness, they couldn’t confirm what it was. One young neighbor, who requested to not be identified, said that while “he wasn’t all there, he was there enough to follow orders and know to stop when the police tell him to stop. He did nothing wrong.”
Another eyewitness told KTLA that Ford’s mental state was well-known in the neighborhood and to the police.
“They laid him out and for whatever reason, they shot him in the back, knowing mentally, he has complications. Every officer in this area, from the Newton Division, knows that — that this child has mental problems,” the man said in an interview with the local network. “The excessive force … there was no purpose for it. The multiple shootings in the back while he’s laying down? No. Then when the mom comes, they don’t try to console her … they pull the billy clubs out.” The young neighbor described the incident as “racial bullshit.”
Are you kidding me