Los Angeles

Family of Ezell Ford, Fatally Shot by Police, Reaches Settlement in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Ezell Ford, 25, was fatally shot by police in South Los Angeles on Aug. 11, 2014

The parents of a man who was fatally shot by police in South Los Angeles in 2014 reached a tentative settlement with the city of Los Angeles over a civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit in which they alleged their son was killed while lying on the ground unarmed.

The notice of settlement was filed Oct. 26 by attorneys for Edsell and Tritobia Ford, the father and mother of Ezell Ford. The agreement was reached during a mandatory settlement conference five days earlier, according to the plaintiffs' attorneys court papers.

No terms were divulged. The court papers said the settlement was "conditional" and it was not immediately clear if the resolution requires approval by the City Council.

Ford, 25, was shot in the 200 block of West 65th Street in South Los Angeles at 8:10 p.m. on Aug. 11, 2014. Police said Officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas were approaching Ford, who was making "suspicious movements," when he turned and "grabbed one of the officers."

"During the struggle, they fell to the ground and the individual (Ford) tried to remove the officer's handgun from its holster,'' according to the LAPD. "The partner officer then fired his handgun and the officer on the ground fired his backup weapon at the individual."

Ford was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

According to the lawsuit filed in March 2015, Wampler and Villegas -- who were named defendants along with the city and LAPD -- "intentionally and/or negligently fatally shot unarmed decedent Ezell Ford multiple times with their firearms" after he had complied with their order to lie on the ground.

The officers knew Ford was "mentally challenged" and that he was not committing a crime at the time, the lawsuit stated.

The shooting prompted several protests and calls for a speedy and transparent investigation. Activists have contended that eyewitnesses dispute the police account of events.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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