Just days after the high-profile Mike Brown killing, Ezell Ford, was fatally shot by LAPD officers. His death sparked outrage in his community and throughout the nation when details emerged about the incident. Ford, a 25-year-old mentally ill man, was unarmed when he was shot by police officers. And now, his family is suing the Los Angeles Police Department for $75-million.
The family’s lawyer, Steven A. Lerman, says Edsell and Tritobia Ford, the parents of the slain man, have filed suit in order to seek punitive damages for severe emotional distress, mental suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. In addition, they are also seeking compensatory damages for funeral costs and legal fees and expenses.
“No millions of dollars or any type of award could bring that young man back to his family, and that is the ultimate tragedy,” Lerman tells the Los Angeles Times.
The lawsuit says the two officers involved in the fatal incident with Ford, Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas unlawfully searched Ford with excessive force, denying him due process.
According to the Huffington Post, the lawsuit alleges the officers’ behavior was “malicious and in reckless and conscious disregard for the rights and individual safety of [Ford].”
Lerman is no stranger to fighting alleged injustices at the hands of LAPD. The attorney also represented Rodney King after officers brutally beat him following a high-speed chase. At a recent press conference he says the shooting occurred “for no other reason than that these officers were bored on a Monday night.”
Ford’s family echoes this sentiment, during the same press conference saying the young man had a history of mental illness, which could have played part in him not understanding officers’ requests during his run in with them.
According to the LAPD, Ford was shot following a struggle with officers during which he reached for one of their guns.
Witnesses tell a much different story, however, saying Ford was shot in the back while he was lying down, one even claiming to hear an officer shout “shoot him” just before firing those fatal rounds.
“We cannot tolerate or stand for the continued conduct of abuse, discrimination and racial profiling that allowed this poor man to be shot dead,” Lerman contends.
These sentiments run throughout the lawsuit, which according to KTLA, claims Ford’s constitutional rights were violated because he was not committing a crime, was unarmed and compliant and mentally challenged. According to the lawsuit, disregard for the aforementioned is reflective of a “longstanding custom, policy and practice” of the LAPD’s violation of civil rights and racially profiling African-Americans.
“They knew that he was basically helpless and harmless, and yet they preceded to attack him, bring him to the ground and shoot and kill him without justification,” Lerman claims.
An investigation into Ford’s death is still ongoing. The coroner’s officer has a hold on the results of his autopsy at the request of the LAPD until all witnesses have come forward and given their statements to investigators.
News source courtesy of MommyNoire!!!