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Tensions Rise in Los Angeles Following LAPD Shooting of Gun-Grab Suspect

August 14, 2014  | 

VIDEO: Tensions Rise in Los Angeles Following LAPD Shooting of Gun-Grab Suspect

Residents and community activists are demanding answers after the fatal shooting of a mentally ill man by Los Angeles police officers on Monday night.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, said Wednesday he has asked for a meeting with Police Chief Charlie Beck after he saw media reports about the shooting.

"One of the things we wanted to make clear to the chief was you really want to get ahead of the situation," he told the Los Angeles Times. "Anyone that has information about it -- given the fact that it is a priority item for the LAPD and for the community -- they need to come forward."

On Wednesday, LAPD released a detailed narrative of the confrontation, alleging that the man tackled one officer and went for his gun before police opened fire.

LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said two veteran gang officers were driving down West 65th Street on Monday night when they spotted Ezell Ford, 25, walking on the sidewalk. An LAPD statement, citing a preliminary investigation, said the officers got out of their car and tried to talk to Ford but that he "continued walking and made suspicious movements, including attempting to conceal his hands."

When the officers got closer, Smith said, Ford "whirled around and basically tackled the lead officer." Ford reached for the officer's gun, Smith said, prompting his partner to open fire. The officer on the ground reached for his backup weapon and also fired, Smith said.

But some who live in the area questioned the police account. A friend of Ford's family told The Times that she witnessed part of the incident and saw no struggle between the officers and Ford.


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