Los Angeles Police Department Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger said the department would conduct an urgent and transparent investigation into the officer-involved shooting death of a 25-year-old black man, a civil rights activist said Thursday.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson, the president of the Los Angeles Urban Roundtable, urged the police to conduct a quick and transparent investigation into the shooting death of Ezell Ford, a mentally challenged black man.
"We don't want to find out much down the line that an investigation is complete ... The officers were exonerated," he said during a press conference calling for a meeting with LAPD officials about the shooting. "That's not just. That's not fair. It's certainly not transparent."
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Gang enforcement officers shot Ezell Ford, 25, on Monday in South LA after stopping him for questioning.
The encounter turned deadly when Ford ignored their orders to stop and "made suspicious movements, including attempting to conceal his hands," the LAPD said in a press release.
The officers fired at Ford when he tackled them and tried to grab one of their guns during a struggle, police said.
Ford died at a hospital.
Hutchinson said there were conflicting versions of how the shooting went down.
"They said Ford was not resisting, that he had mental challenges, and that police officers in the area were well aware of him and his condition," he said.
After meeting this afternoon at the LAPD's Newton Station with Paysinger, the department's acting chief in the absence of Chief Charlie Beck, Hutchinson said he called for the investigation to be a "fast-track, urgency, priority investigation, not months and months and months, but as urgent as
possible as the situation dictates."
"The second thing is, in addition to that, it's got to be transparent," Hutchinson said. "Every step of the way what can be shared with the community and other organizations must be shared."
Paysinger agreed on both counts, Hutchinson said.
In a statement, Los Angeles Police Protective League President Tyler Izen said it will take time for a thorough investigation to establish "trustworthy conclusions" as to what took place.
Some witness statements should be viewed skeptically, he said.
"Increasingly, in the immediate aftermath of any police shooting, unvetted statements by persons claiming to be witnesses are given prominent play," said Izen, who heads the union representing the department's rank-and-file officers.
"While a factual investigation unfolds at a deliberate and slower pace, an inaccurate narrative can be created before the actual facts are determined. The Ezell Ford incident on August 11, 2014, in Newton Area is no exception, as we have read and viewed some inaccurate reports of what occurred."
Police asked that anyone who recorded the shooting on cellphone cameras or has any information about it to contact the LAPD or the Inspector General's Office, "so that we can ensure a full, fair, and thorough investigation," Paysinger said.
About 200 protesters marched down Broadway in South Los Angeles Thursday night to decry the shooting.
City News Service contributed to this report.