Just two weeks after Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey declined to press charges against the two Los Angeles police officers responsible for shooting and killing Ezell Ford, the Los Angeles City Council has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Ford’s family.
Ford’s 2014 killing came just days after Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., and the Los Angeles Times reports that the council voted 10-2 to approve the settlement that adds to the “growing financial fallout” from deadly shootings by Los Angeles police officers. The city agreed to pay $8 million in December to settle lawsuits stemming from the fatal shootings of three unarmed men.
Mitch Englander and Joe Buscaino—the two council members who voted against the settlement—are both reserve officers of the Los Angeles Police Department who described Ford’s shooting as tragic but said that they believed the officers acted appropriately during the encounter with Ford.
Boris Treyzon, an attorney representing Ford’s family, said that the settlement reinforces what Ford’s mother has believed all along: The police acted inappropriately when they shot her son.
In 2015 the Los Angeles Police Commission agreed with her assessment.
As previously reported at The Root, just over 18 months ago, the police commission faulted Sharlton Wampler, one of the officers in the shooting, saying that his handling of the encounter was flawed and led to the fatal shooting, but Lacey’s office determined that the physical evidence corroborated both officers’ accounts that Ford knocked one of them to the ground and tried to grab his gun. The commission also criticized the officers’ decisions to pull their guns when they did.
Two weeks ago, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office released a 28-page report (pdf), with most of the officers’ statements redacted, that said its Justice System Integrity Division determined that Officers Wampler and Antonio Villegas, who were working on a gang-enforcement detail, “acted lawfully in self-defense and in defense of others when they shot Ezell Ford, 25, on Aug. 11, 2014.”
The $1.5 million settlement will not bring Ford back, but it will allow Ford’s mother to have some semblance of closure in the matter.
“This settlement, while bringing closure to the legal end, will allow her to do good in her son’s name,” Treyzon said.
Read more at the Los Angeles Times.