Photo courtesy of the Associate Press
The Los Angeles Police Department collectively agreed to pay a $1.5 million settlement to the family of Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old mentally ill black man that was shot and killed by LAPD in 2014.
Ford was fatally shot on Aug. 11, 2014. It was believed that due to Ford’s schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Ford did not respond to officer command that night.
Was Justice Served?
Ford’s parents, Edsell and Triobia, filled the lawsuit against the LAPD on the grounds of wrongful death of their son.
“They are happy with the decision because they can now put this behind them and move on with their lives. This was never about money…She (Triobia) was looking for justice,” says Boris Treyzon, the attorney that represented the Ford family.
What Happened that Night?
Local authorities stated that LAPD officer Sharlton Wampler attempted to communicate with Ford because police officers on the scene were under the impression that Ford was attempting to dispose of drugs.
Wampler rested a hand on Ford’s shoulder and Ford reacted back by allegedly knocking Wampler to the ground and attempted to acquire his firearm.
Wampler shot Ford in retaliation once in Ford’s back, according to prosecutors. Antonio Villegas, Wampler’s partner that night, shot Ford as well with two additional bullets from his gun.
The Settlement of the Lawsuit
Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced two weeks prior that Wampler and Villegas would not face criminal charges concerning the death of Ford. Two weeks following this decision by the DA’s office, the million dollar settlement was reached for Ford’s family.
“These officers got off scot-free. They got away with murder and there is no justice for Ezell,” says Triobia Ford in the wake of Lacey’s decision.
One of the many factors that helped Treyzon win the million dollar settlement for the Ford family was the fact that Wampler violated LAPD policy and this was determined by the police commission in 2015.
“Police need to be much more aware of the members of society they serve who at times require higher standards of care,” says Treyzon.
Ford’s death gained the attention of the public in the wake and public outcry of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri under similar conditions of excessive force, two days prior to Ford’s passing.