We’re not against the police. We’re not against the police department, but we are against police who commit misconduct (and those who help cover it up).
As of today, the Los Angeles Police Department has 12 days left to release the autopsy report from the Aug. 11 death of 25-year-old Ezell Ford in South Los Angeles at the hands of Newton Officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas.
The police say that during an “investigative stop,” a struggle ensued in which Ford “turned, grabbed one of the officers.” After that, “they fell to the ground,” and Ford allegedly attempted to pull an officer’s handgun from its holster. The “partner officer then fired his handgun and the officer on the ground fired his backup weapon” at Ford.
Ford’s death has been contested by witnesses who say that Ford did not reach for the officer’s handgun and that he was shot in the back while lying on the ground complying with the officer’s orders. Now I’m not sure if these same witnesses have spoken to the LAPD about what they saw because the Department maintains that very few if any witnesses have come forward regarding the shooting death. In fact, the security hold on Ford’s autopsy is allegedly to ensure the accuracy of witness statements—should any come forward. Family members also insist that Ford is known to suffer from mental illness.
However, due to the controversial nature of Ford’s death with him being yet another unarmed Black man killed by police officers in America and the constant unwavering call for answers and accountability regarding his death from the community, Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck to release the report before the end of the year.
At a Nov. 13 press conference flanked by District Attorney Jackie Lacey, 9th District Councilmember Curren Price and Chief Beck, the Mayor said, “I am ordering the results of this autopsy be released. I think that is important for the family, that is important for the community, that is important for our city as well as our department.”
Chief Beck said the autopsy contains “significant evidence that could add tremendous credibility” to whatever witnesses, should they come forward, tell investigators.
Well that was Nov. 15 and today is Dec. 19.
On Dec. 8, on an “Ask the Mayor” segment on KNX 1070, the mayor reiterated that Angelenos would not have to wait until Dec. 31.
Well, I’d argue that we’re cutting it pretty close with only 12 days left in the year. But I digressed.
The mayor went on to say that “I think we’ll see it before the end of the year, probably [in the] next week or two.”
This was said on Dec. 8. A week from Dec. 8 was Dec. 15. Two weeks will be Dec. 22.
In order to not make a liar out of the mayor, the LAPD would have to release that autopsy report and presumably the Department’s investigative findings by Dec. 22.
There’s only one hitch, Mayor Eric Garcetti has left the state on a family vacay and won’t be returning until Festivus—that is Tue. Dec. 23.
From what I’m told the Department has found the shooting to be within policy. If no witnesses have come forward, there’s really no one to contradict whatever officers Wampler and Villegas contend happened.
Police Chief Beck said last week at a news conference that no new witnesses of the shooting have come forward.
Apparently the hold up is that the Department is waiting for what they consider to be the best time to release this information. Basically, when is the best time that Negroes are less likely to be paying attention or feel inspired to take to the streets.
So the folks in the public information office spent this week placing feel good stories all over the place.
This would include the perfectly timed announcement of the body cameras, which did exactly what it was supposed to do—take the focus off of the Ezell Ford autopsy. In a move akin to something I would do, the Department was able to elicit kudos from some its most ardent opponents—because hey—who doesn’t want the LAPD to have body cameras.
Then there was that little announcement about the series of reforms to improve the accuracy of the city’s crime statistics—this after the Los Angeles Times basically proved the Department was “cooking the books.” And what do you know? Overall violent crime has gone up 11% compared with the same time period in 2013 according to the new and revised LAPD figures.
And let us not forget all of the feel good Kumbayah holiday stories of officers going the extra mile for children in South and East L.A. And let me clear by the way, I support all of the efforts by the LAPD that provide toys and clothes to those in need but I am clear on a PR stunt when I see it.
The plan was actually quite brilliant and one that I would have pushed forward had that been my job. Make them feel good by letting them see that we’re taking baby steps towards transparency before we have to hit them with something bad in hopes of minimizing the backlash. Again, brilliant.
So here we are Los Angeles. 12 days before the end of the year. The mayor having said last week that the report would be released in two weeks giving us a deadline of Dec. 22. The mayor is currently out of town until Dec. 23 and since it was the mayor who made the proclamation that it would be released before year’s end, I kind of doubt the COP would do it without him by his side. However, that being said, as someone who works for elected officials I can tell you that it’s not unusual for them to be back in town one maybe even two days before they are “officially” back. Hell I even try to pull that off with my own schedule.
So when do you think this report gets released? I can tell you that it would be a mistake of mass proportions to release it on Christmas Eve. Only a Grinch would do something like that to the Ford family. Christmas is out of the question. Dec. 26 won’t work because Blacks from coast-to-coast will be celebrating the first day of the very Afrocentric holiday Kwanzaa. That just would not look right, now would it? Kwanzaa doesn’t end until Jan. 1 and since the mayor already promised we’d have the answers by Dec. 31, that leaves one day, possibly two for this to happen on.
My money is on Mon. Dec. 22 or Tue. Dec. 23. I am sure that the COP and command staff are working hard to ensure that there is maximum deployment in Central and South Bureaus on the chosen date given Angelenos behavior in the past weeks as it relates to protests. We’ve seen repeatedly that it only takes a dedicated few to create a havoc that is felt throughout the city. I also believe that the nation is going to be fixated on Los Angeles as we were with Ferguson and New York for their “big announcements.”
Now I could be wrong about it but I don’t think I am. If anything, I’m right and the COP gets mad at my logical deductive reasoning skills and decides to change the date from the two I have presented for you out of spite. Don’t laugh, remember he did let me get arrested.
But seriously, in my experience when you are delivering “good news” you do not wait until the last possible minute—especially when you are the LAPD. You especially don’t hold onto “good news” in the face of numerous protests over the deaths of unarmed young Black men at the hands of the police. You also do not need max deployment of officers on hand either. And by”good news” I mean news that the shooting of Ezell Ford was not in policy and that the two officers involved are being relieved of duty immediately. That’s about the only “good news” the community is trying to hear right about now.
I’m just saying, brace yourself Los Angeles, it’s the final countdown.