DA not filing charges for two LAPD officers involved in Ezell Ford shooting

Posted at 5:12 PM, Jan 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-24 20:12:18-05

No criminal charges will be filed against two Los Angeles police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Ezell Ford, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced on Tuesday, KABC-TV in Los Angeles reported.

Ford, a mentally challenged man, was shot and killed by officers near his South Los Angeles home on Aug. 11, 2014.

Prosecutors concluded in a 28-page report that Officers Antonio Villegas and Sharlton Wampler acted lawfully in self-defense and in defense of others.

Police and prosecutors said Villegas and Wampler approached Ford because he was acting suspiciously and may have been trying to discard an illegal substance.

A struggle ensued, and Ford was shot. The 25-year-old was taken to a hospital, where he died.

"The evidence indicates that Ford was on top of Wampler, struggling to obtain Wampler's primary service weapon and posing an immediate threat to his safety and his partner's safety," according to the report. "In fear for their lives, Villegas and Wampler each responded with deadly force."

In 2015, the Police Commission determined that one of the officers violated department policy, but the other was justified in firing his weapon. The commission did not specify which officer acted improperly.

Ezell's mother, Tritobia Ford, denounced the decision, saying the officers "murdered" her son and now will not face justice.

"My son was unarmed. He was murdered. There will be no justice for Ezell," Tritobia Ford said.

She said District Attorney Jackie Lacey called her personally to relate her decision before announcing it publicly. She expressed disappointment in Lacey for taking so long to make the decision.

Last November, Ford's family reached a tentative settlement with the city of Los Angeles over a civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit. Tritobia Ford said she didn't have any additional information about the status of that tentative settlement.

"For me it was never about any settlement, any money," she said. "My son is dead. As I said from the beginning, justice for Ezell would have been for the officers to go through the due process like any other murderer would have."

"To go and get arrested and go to jail and be brought up on charges and let the court deal with it. But unfortunately that's not how it happened."

Ford's death has been at the center of protests against the department over officer shootings of black suspects.