Originally published January 14 2015
Is the LAPD deliberately hiding autopsy report of homeless man executed by police?
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) The Los Angeles Police Department has decided yet again to delay releasing the autopsy results for an unarmed, homeless African American man who was fatally shot by officers earlier this year.
Ezell Ford, 25, was killed by officers during an August 11 confrontation in south Los Angeles, reports said. Officials with the LAPD have said the force is not going to release the autopsy report and findings until later in the ongoing investigation, a decision said to be made to protect witnesses' testimony from being "tainted," according to department spokesman Andrew Smith, in comments to KPCC.
Ford was killed by gang officers, said reports.
LAPD officials want to get "clean interviews" from witnesses, Smith noted. He added that there were concerns that releasing the autopsy findings might encourage some witnesses to "use information from the autopsy to give credibility to their story."
At this point, the New York Daily News reported, it is not clear when the results will be released to the public.
Ford shooting compared to the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
The paper continued its report:
The blocked findings enraged activists who say Ford was gunned down while complying with police. Witnesses said the 25-year-old, who suffered from mental health issues, was already on the ground when police shot him three times.
Ford was taking medication for diagnosed schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression, relatives said. Police and neighbors knew about those issues, they said.
Demonstrators gathered a few days ago to demand a complete and thorough investigation into the shooting.
Police officers have told a different story, the paper noted. Officers said Ford became aggressive towards them when they confronted him during an "investigative stop." They say Ford tried to grab one officer's weapon.
Activists, however, have tried to draw parallels between Ford's case and that of 18-year-old Michael Brown, another unarmed African American man who was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. In Brown's case, though, according to grand jury findings and witness testimony, he actually was behaving aggressively towards Officer Darren Wilson, even attacking Wilson inside his patrol car. A video released by the Ferguson P.D. shortly after Brown's death showed him engaged in a strong-arm robbery of a local convenience store.
Nevertheless, Brown's death set off weeks of often violent protests, which worsened after the grand jury announced its findings in November, before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Ford was killed two days after Brown.
In August, shortly after the LAPD placed a "security hold" on Ford's autopsy results, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, issued a statement criticizing the decision.
Another example of police targeting African American males
"The blocking of the autopsy report of Ford comes on the heels of the release of the autopsy report on Michael Brown which contradicted the police version of how Brown was killed," he wrote, as reported by KPCC. "The blocking of the release Ford autopsy report further fuels suspicions about the LAPD's version of the Ford killing."
Smith said that LAPD officers involved in the shooting had not violated any departmental rules.
"Officers are allowed to have consensual encounters with people," Smith said, according to KPCC. "As they got near this guy, they saw him acting suspiciously, including hiding his hands in front of himself."
Smith said Ford "basically tackled" one of the gang officers as the officer approached.
Ford's mother, Tribotia Ford, told reporters that her son was mentally ill and that the shooting was unjustified. Activists have claimed it is another example of police targeting an African American male, with deadly results.
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