Target: Steve Soboroff, President Commissioner of LAPD
Goal: Urge officials to suspend police officers responsible for killing unarmed mentally ill man
While protesters rioted over the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, 25-year-old Ezell Ford also became the subject of yet another act of brutal police violence. While walking down the street, Ford was approached, for unknown reasons, by two police officers. When a struggle ensued, the officers shot Ford three times, in the back, killing him instantly.
Ford, who was unarmed and had a long history of mental illness, struggled with depression and schizophrenia and was known to aimlessly stroll the streets. According to eyewitness reports, Ford was not doing anything suspicious when LAPD officers approached him. The two veteran officers who often targeted gangs alleged that Ford made ‘suspicious movements’ and then tackled him when they thought he was reaching for their guns. As Ford was lying on the ground, complying with the officers’ demands, they shot him with intent to kill.
In an article by the Los Angeles Times, neighbors, family members, and onlookers reported that Ezell Ford posed no threat to the officers. Some even tried to intervene, yelling at the officers, “He’s got mental problems!” Despite Ford’s past charges, one for possession of marijuana, and the other for possession of a loaded firearm, he was not gang-affiliated or a hardened criminal. The excessive force was simply unnecessary and an abuse of power on the officers’ part.
A cousin of Ford also told the LA Times that nearly all the officers in the county’s division knew that he was mentally ill stating, “The multiple shootings in [his] back?…there was no purpose for it — everybody knows that child has mental problems.” Further, one of the officers involved has a history of complaints against him. In 2011, he nearly drowned a man to death in front of his family after they asked to see a search warrant before the officer entered their property.
To say that police brutality is rampant is an understatement. Far too many lives have been cut short due to brute force and the misplaced entitlement of police officers. Sign this petition to tell Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff to take serious action against the officers involved in Ezell Ford’s death.
Dear Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff,
The recent death of Ezell Ford, an unarmed, black, and mentally ill man is not only a tragedy, but an utterly appalling abuse of human rights and human life. Across our country, police officers are using military-like force, military-grade weapons, and a shoot-to-kill mentality to ‘control’ towns, cities, and streets, when no threat is posed in the slightest. This unnecessary sense of entitlement and abuse of power is responsible for the deaths of countless innocent people and turning the public against police officers.
A lame apology by the LAPD is not enough. It is insulting to those who have suffered and lost loved ones due to the brutal actions of police officers. The individuals involved in Ford’s death need to be reprimanded accordingly for their callousness. I urge you to suspend the officers immediately.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: liftarn via openclipart