L.A. Police Commission: One of Two Officers At Fault in Ezell Ford Shooting

The Los Angeles Police Commission has reached a mixed conclusion regarding the 2014 shooting death of 25-year-old Ezell Ford. Tuesday’s ruling was unanimous and brings a sense of finality to an incident which sparked outrage and protests across the city and state.

While the commission ruled that one officer had indeed violated department policy, it also determined that the actions of the other officer were largely justified. Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck will now decide what disciplinary action to take in the case.

“This is a tragedy for all involved, the family, relatives, loved ones and friends of Mr. Ford, as well as the involved police officers,” said commission President Steve Soboroff.

At the time of the shooting, Ford—who suffered from mental illness—was unarmed. Officers said he attempted to reach for one of their guns during a struggle that ensued, culminating in the deadly shooting.

According to the commission, the officer who dealt the fatal blow was at fault for stopping Ford in the first place. The officer then mishandled the encounter, leading to the fatal confrontation. The panel disapproved only of the second officer’s decision to draw his weapon too early, but said he was justified in the ultimate use of force.

The decision has calmed many of the protestors, some of whom gathered outside of the mayor’s mansion on Monday. The LAPD’s Union, however, was angered by the ruling, saying it makes officers’ jobs more difficult going forward.

"[Officers] feel that the Police Commission abandoned them for a suspect who basically tried to take an officer's gun," said the union’s president, Lt. Craig Lally. "They're as flabbergasted as I am."

Read more about the Los Angeles Police Commission’s ruling here.