Sources close to the investigation have revealed that the Los Angeles Police Department has determined that Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas, the two officers who shot and killed 25-year-old Ezell Ford last August 11, were justified in their actions.
The final ruling on their fate rests with the Police Commission, a civilian panel that oversees the LAPD. The group is set to meet tomorrow and will ultimately determine if the officers were justified in drawing their weapons and using them, and if their actions were in line with the department’s policies.
LAPD police chief Charlie Beck is expected to recommend to the commission that the officers be cleared. Investigators reportedly found that evidence—including Ford’s DNA on the gun and scratches on the gun holster, Ford and the officer’s hands—showed that Ford, who suffered from mental illness, attempted to take one of the officer’s guns.
A simultaneous investigation by the LAPD’s inspector general found that the officer’s tactics weren’t up to par and that Wampler was at fault for touching Ford as they approached him. It is still unclear what the Police Commission will decide, but if they are ultimately found at fault, their punishment will be at Beck’s discretion.
Protestors have been stationed outside Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s home since 6 a.m., according to local news. They are demanding that the mayor fire Beck and work with the group to create a reparations policy for families impact by police abuse and killings.
The group, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, issued a statement earlier today:
This morning Mayor Garcetti decided to try and sneak out of the back door of his Hancock Park residence in an effort to avoid the black people out in front. When we confronted the mayor about the Ezell Ford situation, his lack of leadership and presence in South L.A., and the issues with the police in terms of abuse and killings, a member of the mayor’s security detail physically assaulted one of our activists.
The protestors vowed to maintain their post through Tuesday morning.