The parents of an unarmed Black man killed by Los Angeles police last month filed a $75 million wrongful death claim against the city on Wednesday, CBS reported.
Lawyers for Ezell Ford’s family also filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the police department and Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas, the two officers involved in the shooting. The suit claims that the officers knew Ford had mental problems and that they used excessive force that violated his right to be free from reasonable seizure.
"No millions of dollars or any type of award can bring that young man back to his family and that is the ultimate tragedy," the family’s attorney, Steven Lerman, said at a news conference.
Ford, a 25-year-old with undisclosed mental issues, was confronted by police on Aug. 11 near his home in South Los Angeles. According to AP, officers say they tried to speak with Ford, but ended up in a struggle during which they shot him after he tried to grab an officer’s firearm. But Ford’s family and some witnesses claim that Ford did not struggle and complied when officers instructed him to lie on the ground.
The LAPD, the Police Commission and the L.A. District Attorney’s Office have launched an investigation into the shooting.
“A disarmed, unarmed, helpless, hapless person was shot to death for no other reason than these officers were bored on a Monday night at eight o’clock,” Lerman said. “And they knew Ezell Ford was handicapped. They knew he was incapable of doing any harm to anybody.”
Lerman also claimed to have witnesses who could support his case, although he did not share any of his findings or thoughts on what led to the confrontation.
"They knew this man was unarmed," he told reporters. "They knew that he was basically helpless and harmless. And yet they proceeded to attack him, bring him to the ground, shoot and kill him without justification.”
Ford’s killing, which occurred just days before the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, sparked several peaceful vigils, marches and demonstrations across the country.
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(Photo: KTLA News)