Tempers Flare at South LA Meeting Over LAPD Killings

Police Chief Charlie Beck asked community members for patience at a South Los Angeles church Tuesday night as tempers flared over two separate police killings of unarmed men.

Beck, along with Police Commission President Steve Soboroff and Inspector Gen. Alex Bustamante, met with residents and activists at Paradise Baptist Church to address criticism over the killings of Ezell Ford and Omar Abrego, and the handling of the investigations.

"I think it would be helpful if you could tell the family and the rest of us, what probable cause there was when the officers stopped Ezell?" retired LAPD officer Cheryl Dorsey said at Tuesday night's meeting.

Ford, a 25-year-old mentally ill man, was shot and killed eight days ago by LAPD officers who say he ignored instructions and went for one of their guns.

Abrego, 37, died in custody after a struggle with officers.

"When your officers get out the car, have them look at the door. (It reads) 'to protect and to serve.' Not 'to kick some ass,'" a community member said. 

"Maybe common sense can be used instead of a gun," said Minnie Hadley-Hempstead, tpresident of the Los Angeles branch of the NAACP.

Beck urged the community to not pre-judge the officers involved until the investigation was complete.

"Please work with me. If you know somebody who knows something, have them come forward," Beck told the crowd. "We will show people LA has a better way."

"Every issue, every witness, every question is going to be answered,” Bustamante said at the meeting.

Some questioned when the officer involved in the shooting death of Ford would be named. Beck said that he would release the name of the officer when he believed it was safe to do so.

A march was also held Tuesday night for Ford and Abrego. It was also in support of Michael Brown, an unarmed teen shot to death by police in Ferguson, Missouri, where the killing has sparked days of unrest.

Mateo Melero and Samia Khan contributed to this report.

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