A day before a Police Commission review, protesters on Monday confronted Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti outside his residence over last year’s fatal police shooting of Ezell Ford.
A small group of demonstrators approached the mayor yelling at him as he left Getty House in Windsor Square, according to a video clip distributed by Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles.
Among the protesters who were heard yelling in the video was a man who said, “Your officers are killing black people, brown people and poor white people. I want my vote back,” as Garcetti prepared to enter his vehicle.
Black Lives Matter staged “48 hours of protest” that began Sunday morning in response to media reports that the police chief and Police Commission’s inspector general have found the fatal South L.A. shooting was justified. The 25-year-old Ford, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, was unarmed during the Aug. 11 incident, but the probes reportedly found evidence supporting the two officers’ claims that they shot him because he was trying to grab an officer’s gun during a struggle.
The commission, a five-member panel that oversees the Police Department, is scheduled to review the findings in closed session today and will make the final determination as to whether the officers acted according to policy.
“Trust and transparency are the foundation of the relationship between the Los Angeles Police Department and people it serves,” Garcetti said in a written statement earlier Monday. “I have confidence that the Police Commission will conduct an impartial and fair-minded review of the investigations conducted by both the LAPD and the independent inspector general.”
While Garcetti traveled to Washington, D.C., on Monday to meet with federal officials to discuss funding for Los Angeles programs, Black Lives Matter said it “will remain unmoved” from outside Garcetti’s home until today’s commission meeting. The protesters have called for the firing of Police Chief Charlie Beck, that the fate of the officers involved be discussed by the Police Commission in open session — which would be contrary to current state law — and that the city works with Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles to develop a policy for reparations “for the families of victims of police abuse and killings.”
“I think this is one of the most profound ways that residents of Los Angeles County can hold their elected officials accountable,” said Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter and a founder of the local chapter, said of the protest in front of Getty House. “We think Mayor Garcetti has largely neglected the needs of black people, especially poor black people like Ezell Ford, who was walking home … and was killed by officers on the way home.”
A member of the mayor’s security detail appeared to try to physically remove a female protester who was standing in front of Garcetti’s car before he left. A statement from Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles stated the protester was “physically assaulted.”
Garcetti, who was criticized Sunday by Ford’s mother, Tritobia, for his office’s handling of the incident, said he left a message Sunday for her telling her, “My heart goes out to her and her grieving family, as it has since the news first broke last August.”
He said he looks forward to meeting with her in the coming days.
Garcetti is scheduled to return from Washington today, a spokesman said.
Once the Police Commission makes its decision, a summary of “relevant facts,” the recommendations of the police chief and the inspector general and the findings of the police commissioners will be made available online at www.lapdonline.org, according to the inspector general’s office. An employee could not say Monday, however, whether the report would be posted today or later in the week.
Ford was shot by gang enforcement officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas about 8:10 p.m. Aug. 11 on West 65th Street during an investigative stop. When police attempted to detain Ford, he grabbed an officer, forced him to the ground, grabbed his handgun and attempted to remove the gun from its holster, according to a preliminary police account. The officer yelled out to his partner that Ford had his gun and the partner fired two rounds, hitting Ford. About the same time, the officer on the ground, while on his back, grabbed his backup weapon and fired one shot at close range, hitting Ford in his back, police said. Both officers have been placed on administrative duty.
The Ford family has filed wrongful death suits both in federal and state court.