June 19, 2018

LA pays $1.5m to family of black man killed by cops

The City of Los Angeles agreed Wednesday to pay $1.5million to the family of a mentally ill black man who was shot and killed in 2014 by Los Angeles police during a struggle over an officer’s gun.

The settlement in a civil rights lawsuit brought by the family of Ezell Ford, 25, came two weeks after prosecutors said the two Los Angeles Police Department officers acted lawfully and in self-defense when they shot and killed Ford in August 2014.

More than a year ago, a police oversight board found the officers had no legal reason to stop Ford, violating department policy. The Los Angeles City Council approved the settlement with Ford’s family on Wednesday with a 10-2 vote. Federico Sayre, an attorney for Ford’s family, said they were relieved the settlement was finalized after significant opposition from the officers’ union.

Los Angeles prosecutors said Officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas were in fear for their lives when they shot Ford on August 11, 2014, as Ford struggled with Wampler over the officer’s holstered gun.

The shooting happened days after that of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and led to a series of Black Lives Matter protests in Los Angeles. Authorities said the officers had approached Ford, whose family has said he struggled with an array of mental illnesses, after seeing him in a known gang area, but said Ford walked away and the officers believed he was trying to discard an illegal substance. Read more


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