January 26, 2017
By Kimberlee Buck
“Our family is hurting, we are hurting. My son was unarmed and he was murdered, and there will be no justice. He will not see justice, there will be no justice for Ezell,” said mother of Ezell Ford, Tritobia Ford.
Tuesday, January 24, the family of Ezell Ford held a press conference at the First A.M.E. Allen House to discuss District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s announcement that no charges will be filed against LAPD officers.
According to a report released by the Justice System Integrity Division, both officer Wampler and officer Villegas who were working in a gang enforcement detail were found to have acted lawfully in self-defense against Ford, who was diagnosed as being mentally ill.
“Our office has a daunting challenge each and every time there is an officer-involved shooting,” Lacey said. “In this case, we did everything we could to ensure a comprehensive investigation. Although the loss of Mr. Ford’s life is tragic, we believe the officers’ actions were legally justified and the evidence supports our decision.”
At the time of the incident, officers believed Ford was trying to get rid of an illegal substance. Officer Wampler placed his hands on the shoulder of Ford who was said to have turned around grabbing the officer by the waist, resulting in both officer Wampler and Ford falling to the ground.
The report states, Ford’s DNA was found on Wampler’s holster which was the District Attorney believed corroborated officer Wampler’s statement. The report goes on to say, officer Villegas shot Ford twice and officer Wampler shot Ford once in the back.
“The evidence indicates that Ford was on top of Wampler, struggling to obtain Wampler’s primary service weapon and posing an immediate threat to his safety and his partner’s safety,” according to the report. “In fear for their lives, Villegas and Wampler each responded with deadly force.”
For the next 20 months, prosecutors and investigators from the Justice System Integrity Division sought out witnesses and conducted a complete investigation.
“The amount of time that took for the DA to reach this decision is mind-boggling. I just believe she [Jackie Lacey] knew before now, long before now that she had no intentions of filing charges. Why she lagged and hid and ducked and dodged as long as she did just didn’t make sense and it is not fair. Then she wants to act like well, ‘I called you as I promised before I gave the press conference’, that’s her job, she should. That was tacky to me, I expected more, she has met with me before, why couldn’t she meet with me and tell me that in person, why would you call me like that and give me that news you could have sent a liaison out—you could have sent anybody. To me, that’s tacky, she owed me the decency of speaking to me in person and letting me know that no charges were going to be filed.”
Although the DA’s announcement did not bring justice to Ford’s mother, she is remaining prayerful.
“In the end, I am hopeful, I’m faithful, I believe in God. God is a just God and I know God is the ultimate judge and they will pay for what they did,” said Ford.