Jan 5, 2015
On December 29, the LAPD finally released the autopsy report of Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old black man, who was shot and killed by two cops in South Los Angeles on August 11.
For months, LAPD brass had refused to release the report, claiming it would influence the testimony of new witnesses – witnesses who might supposedly still come out, as late as four months after the shooting.
Whether there are new witnesses or not, the report sure influenced the LAPD’s own account of what happened. The autopsy showed that Ford was shot in the back at very close range – so close that the wound had a muzzle imprint around it. So now LAPD higher-ups had some explaining to do for not charging the two cops who shot Ford. According to the LAPD, when the cops chased Ford, who was unarmed, he attacked one of them. He then supposedly grabbed the cop’s gun, and the cop pulled his second gun, and somehow reached around him and shot him in the back!
Complicated story? Well, compare that with existing witness accounts (yes, there have already been witnesses the whole time, talking to journalists). One witness said that Ford was shot in the back while he was lying on the ground. Another witness said she saw no struggle between the two cops and Ford. People also said that neighbors knew Ezell Ford, and many knew he had mental problems. Ford’s parents, who are suing the LAPD, said the two cops who went after Ford on August 11 knew him also.
But instead of bringing charges against the two cops, the higher-ups have been trying hard to protect them – like the higher-ups in Ferguson, Missouri and New York, who have been protecting the cops who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner last summer.
And like in Ferguson and New York, it was the pressure of protests from the community that forced authorities in L.A. to make a move – in this case to release the autopsy report.
But the report is not the end of the story. It’s only a beginning, for it certainly makes the shooting of Ezell Ford look like an execution. And that deserves a whole new round of protests.