Updated — 9:12 p.m. ET: Read the full coroner's report on the death of Ezell Ford
The report reveals that Ford was shot three times: once in the abdomen, once in the back and once in the right arm. The wounds to abdomen and back were ruled fatal. The wound to back showed a muzzle imprint, suggesting it occurred from very close range.
The Los Angeles County Coroner released the long-awaited autopsy report Monday for Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old black man who was fatally shot by police in August. The LAPD had blocked its release for months.
On Aug. 11, Ford, who was mentally ill, was shot and killed after he was confronted by LAPD officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas on a Los Angeles street while he was walking home. Ford was unarmed at the time.
Ford's parents, Edsell and Tritobia Ford, are suing the city of Los Angeles and the police department for $75 million. The Fords claim that the officers racially profiled their son, who they said was not committing a crime at the time. The family also said in their complaint that the officers knew Ford was mentally ill and were "reckless and acted with callous indifference." According to his family, Ford suffered from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression.
The police claim that Ford tackled one of the officers and tried to grab one of the officer's guns, prompting his partner to shoot Ford. The city supported the officers' claims in their response to the family's lawsuit, saying they acted in self-defense.
The shooting led to months of protests in the community as Ford's death garnered national media attention and was compared to the police killings of other unarmed black men, such as Eric Garner and Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer just two days before Ford was.
The LAPD initially delayed the release of Ford's autopsy for months, arguing it was part of its ongoing investigation into his death. On Nov. 14, Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered police to release the autopsy results before the end of the year.
At a news conference Monday, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said nothing in the coroner's report is inconsistent with the officers' account of the shooting.
Beck said the officers involved in the shooting spotted Ford on a sidewalk and stopped their patrol car to talk to him on the night of Aug. 11.
As Ford walked away, he attempted to conceal his hands, Beck said. And according to the officers, Ford was making "movements that they regarded as suspicious."
Beck said that when one of the officers approached Ford, he attacked the officer and wrestled him to the ground. As Ford lay on top of the officer, his partner fired twice — shooting Ford in the abdomen and arm. The officer who engaged in a fight with Ford drew his back-up weapon, reached around and also shot Ford in the back from close-range, Beck said.
Since the shooting, the LAPD has tried to find eyewitnesses, but nobody has come forward, Beck said. He appealed again appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
Beck also said the investigation is "far from over" and would go one for several months, and is being carried out in tandem with separate investigations by the L.A. County district attorney's office and the LAPD inspector general's office.
The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on non-field duties.
The release of the autopsy report prompted small protests in South L.A.
One group briefly took over an intersection.
Many questioned why the officer shot Ford in the back at such close range. A lawyer for the Ford family likened his death to an execution, the Associated Press reported. The family has filed a $75 million lawsuit against the LAPD.
Michael Hayes is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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Claudia Koerner is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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