On Wednesday evening, the lawyer for the family of Ezell Ford, the unarmed Black 25-year-old fatally shot by Los Angeles police on Monday, announced his plans to “immediately” file a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city’s police department.
"Justice will come to this family in federal court, not on TV,” attorney Steve Lerman told MSNBC.
According to a news release by the LAPD, a struggle between Ford and patrol officers occurred during an “investigative stop” in the Florence neighborhood of South Los Angeles. The statement reports that the struggle “resulted in an officer-involved-shooting.”
Ford, who was described as mentally ill, was reportedly brought to a local hospital where he died.
An eyewitness told The Huffington Post that police had Ford on the ground and had yelled “shoot him” before Ford was shot with three bullets.
"So as he was walking down the street, the police approached him, whatever was said I couldn't hear it, but the cops jumped out of the car and rushed him over here into this corner,” Leroy Hill told The Huffington Post. "They had him in the corner and were beating him, busted him up, for what reason I don't know; he didn't do nothing."
The family’s attorney told MSNBC that Ford was not armed at the time of his death.
"He was mentally challenged,” Lerman said. "This is not the person that's lurking behind a corner with a gun. He's not a gangbanger. Walking down a city street, a citizen of Los Angeles, walking down a city street unarmed at 8:00 on a Monday night."
Ford's family members also told KTLA that the young man was complying with police orders when he was shot.
The shooting of Ford came just days after the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. The unarmed teen was also fatally shot by local police, inciting unrest that has continued to rock the suburb outside of St. Louis and draw national attention.
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(Photo: KTLA News)