LA County DA will not prosecute LAPD officers in Ezell Ford's death
(FOX 11) - An emotional Tritobia Ford tearfully stood before cameras on Tuesday saying, "My son was unarmed. He was murdered."
She was very unhappy Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackey Lacey decided not to prosecute the two officers that shot her son, Ezell Ford.
"There will be no justice," she said. "There will be no justice for Ezell."
It was August 2014 when the 25-year-old was shot and killed by Los Angeles police. Since then, there have been several investigations, including the one by the DA's office whether to prosecute the two officers involved.
Related: Controversy Continues To Linger Over The Death Of Ezell Ford
"We rejected the case for filing of homicide charges against officers Wampler and Villegas," Lacey said. "The evidence supported a belief, and a conclusion, that this shooting was made in self-defense."
"In self-defense and in the defense of others," said the DA in her 28-page report announcing the decision not to prosecute. The DA said the two gang enforcement officers stopped Ford because of suspicious activity and during that stop, "Mr. Ford and one of the officers ended up in a struggle and ended up on the ground. One officer was on the bottom. Mr. Ford was on the top."
Related: Midday Sunday: LAPD's Former Chief On The Ezell Ford Decision
In the report, one of the officers talks about feeling that he was losing control of his weapon. Investigators said one of the officers yelled, "Let go of the gun, let go of the gun."
He said he "felt his pistol coming half way out of his holster... that Ford had a tighter grip on his pistol than before and yelled out to his partner, 'Shoot him! Shoot him again! You have to stop him.'"
Lacey said, the officer under Ford "…then reached for his spare weapon and shot Mr. Ford in the back and that stopped the struggle from happening."
DNA evidence on one of the officers' holsters belonged to Ford, Lacey added. Something Ford's mother rejects as proof he did something that caused the officers to kill him.
"My son laid there with those officers around him. There weren't any witnesses," Ford's mother, Tritobia, said. "DNA is transferrable. We don't know what was going on. Ezell isn't here. He can't tell us what they did. We don't know how they obtained that blood."
Activist Earl Ofari Hutchison doesn't like the way the DA has dealt with any of the police shootings. He feels there is room to prosecute on this one. He says he's angry and frustrated.
"She disregards too many other variables in these shootings. You got a police commission. You got a kid that's unarmed. You've got a confrontation that should not have happened," Hutchison said.
"It shouldn't have taken this long for her to come to any kind of decision," Ford's mother added. "In my mind, I don't believe it did. She knew what she was going to do. She knew that she didn't have plans on doing anything."
The LA Police Protective League, the labor union for the LAPD, put out a statement supporting the DA's decision. Others, like Hutchison, not so much. The LAPD is not commenting at all.
Ford family attorney Steve Lerman told us, "In my opinion, the DA's decision to not file criminal charges against LAPD officer Wampler and his partner for killing Ezell Ford, Jr. was expected! Business as usual driven by politics, not justice! These killer cops make it almost impossible for families of victims to achieve true justice!!! As usual, the City of LA pays the bill for damages!"
Meanwhile, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti put out this statement:
"Two officers were exonerated today in the shooting death of Ezell Earl Ford. As a father, and as a mayor who has grieved with too many Angelenos crushed by the unthinkable loss of a child, I know that due process will not soothe the anguish still being felt by Mr. Ford's loved ones, and that no investigation can discover the depth of their pain.
"Tritobia Ford has been a model for all of us throughout this painful process. A model of peace and strength, and an example of the grace and wisdom that I pray will bring healing to all who have been touched by this tragedy, and inspire everyone -- whether they be at City Hall, in our neighborhoods and houses of worship, or at the Police Administration Building -- who is committed to making our streets safer for civilians and the officers sworn to serve and protect them.
"I accept the decision made by the District Attorney, but rededicate my administration to the search for better ways to protect the safety of all Angelenos, and reiterate my support for the Police Commission's goal of reinforcing de-escalation in the training of our officers. I am committed to giving the men and women of the LAPD the skills and tools they need to be as secure as possible while doing an incredibly difficult job on our behalf. "It is that work -- and the work yet to come -- that we hope will one day make these kinds of tragedies a thing of the past not just here in Los Angeles, but everywhere in America."
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