Activists Call for Charges in Ezell Ford Police Shooting

After reviewing two reports on the fatal August police shooting of Ezell Ford, Los Angeles Police Commission members concluded some of the officers' actions were within department policy and some were not

Community activists Wednesday urged Los Angeles County's district attorney to file criminal charges against a Los Angeles police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man.

Activists with the National Action Network conducted a morning news conference one day after a heated Police Commission meeting at which board members determined one Los Angeles police officer involved in the fatal August shooting in South Los Angeles violated department policy, but the other was justified in firing his weapon. The district attorney's office did not immediately comment on the case.

Protesters calling for criminal charges against the officers and the firing of the police chief chanted and sang at Tuesday's meeting, which included a tearful statement from Ford's mother during the public comments period. The Police Commission, which has the final say on whether the officers acted properly, met behind closed doors for more than three hours reviewing two investigations. Police Chief Charlie Beck and the department's independent watchdog, Inspector General Alex Bustamante, each concluded that the officers were justified in their actions, although Bustamante faulted the tactics used by one of the officers.

After reviewing the reports, commission members concluded that some of the officers' actions were within department policy and some were not. Beck will now decide what discipline the one officer deemed to have acted out of policy will face after an internal affairs investigation.

The chief issued a statement Tuesday night.

"The men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department conduct over one million enforcement contacts every year. They do an incredible job in some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable," the statement read in part. "Every day I see heroic and selfless actions that bring credit to this City and its Police Department. Occasionally officers are called upon to use force. When that happens those actions are exhaustively reviewed in order to enforce standards and improve training."

Ford, 25, was fatally shot by police Aug. 11 near 65th Street and Broadway. Police said the officers approached Ford, whose family members said suffered from mental illness, for acting suspiciously, and he lunged at one of them and began trying to grab an officer's weapon.

Ford's mother addressed the board Tuesday before walking out of the meeting room.

"I'm begging you, please, please. My son would never grab for no gun," said a sobbing Tritobia Ford. "He wanted to live. That's all he wanted to do was live."

Later Tuesday, Ford said she was "very satisfied" with the commission's ruling. She said she was doubtful the officers will receive more than "a slap on the wrist" and hopes criminal charges will be filed.

"District Attorney Jackie Lacey, you need to step up. You need to step up," she said. "I'm definitely looking at her to press charges."

The shooting sparked months of protests and calls by community activists for a swift and transparent investigation. Earlier this week, activists camped out in front of Mayor Eric Garcetti's Hancock Park residence.

NBC4 is attempting to contact attorneys for the officers for comment about the case.

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