Protesters gather outside Los Angeles mayor's house over police shooting

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 08, 2015 1:27 PM

By Phoenix Tso

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - About a dozen demonstrators gathered outside the home of the Los Angeles mayor on Monday to protest against an apparent preliminary decision to clear two police officers in the shooting death last year of an unarmed black man.

The demonstrators said they planned to remain in front of the house until a Police Commission meeting on Tuesday, highlighting continued anger over the shooting death of 25-year-old Ezell Ford on Aug. 11, 2014.

The Los Angeles Times reported last week that Police Chief Charlie Beck and an inspector general, who acts as an independent watchdog, determined that the two officers who shot Ford, one Asian and one Latino, were justified in doing so.

Los Angeles police representatives declined to comment on the report, which cited unnamed sources. Police have said Ford tried to grab one officer's gun during a struggle.

The preliminary finding from the police chief and the inspector general will be taken up on Tuesday by the Police Commission, which will make a final decision on whether the use of force was justified.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement on Monday he had called Ford's mother and left a message to say his heart "goes out to her and her grieving family."

"I have confidence that the Police Commission will conduct an impartial and fair-minded review of the investigations conducted by both the LAPD and the independent Inspector General," Garcetti said.

Ford died two days after the fatal police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, that triggered a wave of protests over use of force by authorities.

Protesters said they were calling for Garcetti to fire Beck over his finding.

The roughly dozen demonstrators from the Black Lives Matter movement set up their protest on Sunday outside the mayor's official residence, Getty House. By Monday they had posted signs on a gate near the residence and on a nearby tree, and set up a memorial for Ford with flowers and candles.

"I’m exhausted, enraged and saddened by the complete disregard of black life by the Los Angeles Police Department and city officials," said protester Carrie Leilam Love, 36.

Early on Monday, protesters blocked Garcetti's vehicle as he was leaving the residence, according to local television station KTLA. Police said the mayor eventually left in a different vehicle, the station reported.

Garcetti went to Washington to meet with federal officials, according to his office.

(Reporting by Phoenix Tso, Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Andrew Hay and Eric Beech)