The family of Ezell Ford have accused the police officers who killed him of acting as "judge, jury and executioner."
His parents were too emotional to speak about the release of an autopsy Monday that found the unarmed, mentally ill man was shot three times by police officers during a scuffle in South Los Angeles earlier this year, but other family members said they were furious at the findings.
"They think they're God. They're the judge, the jury, the executioner. It's too much," Ford's aunt Mahalia Clark said, adding, "We've known from the start. I don't know why it takes so long for all this to come out. It's a sad day in LA and all over the world when police think they have that much authority."
And Ford's grandmother Dorothy Clark said she could not believe the people she thought would protect him were the ones who ended up klling him.
Top news of the day
"I always thought that what would happen to my grandson because he is in an environment where there's gang-related activity. I thought that the gangs would kill him," Clark said
"I thought the police would protect him, but the gangs were the police," she added.
Ford, 25, was shot when police confronted him Aug. 11 on a street near his home. Officers said they shot him as he tried to grab a gun during a struggle.
However, the family's attorney Steven Lerman accused the police officers of "almost animalistic" brutality.
"They went after him in a way that was almost animalistic, and it's just terrible to see how this has rolled out. But the shot to the back does not surprise me," Lerman said.
He has also called for LAPD Chief Charlie Beck to explain why officers stopped Ford in the first place.
"They had nothing better to do. They knew him to be mentally incompetent, they knew him that he couldn't put up a fight, he wouldn't give anybody a hard time. It was Monday night at 8 o'clock, and they wouldn't have treated anyone else like this," Lerman said.
Family members say Ford was mentally ill and was harmless. A friend has said she witnessed the confrontation and didn’t see Ford struggle. His family has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the department and the two officers who shot him.
They also filed a $75 million claim — a precursor to a state lawsuit — against the city.