The preliminary autopsy report for Ezell Ford, the unarmed black teenager shot by an LAPD officer last week, is being withheld from the public on a security hold, Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday.
Ford’s death has sparked rallies and calls for an investigation into conflicting accounts of the shooting.
Investigators probing the officer-involved shooting of 25-year-old Ford are seeking additional witnesses, Beck told the department’s civilian oversight committee at a Tuesday meeting, and he fears release of the autopsy could taint potential witnesses.
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“The witness pool is very shallow at this point,” Beck said. “I want to make sure we can get folks, we can get their unvarnished statements.”
Ford was shot August 11 after he allegedly struggled with two police officers in South LA. During the struggle, Ford tried to remove an officer’s gun from its holster, officials said.
But conflicting witness reports have cast doubt on the LAPD accounts. Family members said Ford was complying with officer’s demands when he was shot.
Beck and other LAPD brass have pledged a transparent inquiry.
So-called “security holds” have been placed on autopsy reports during other high-profile or sensitive death investigations.
City News Service contributed to this report.