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Ezell Ford: LAPD inspector general renews call for witnesses




Local residents take part in a march on Thursday evening, Aug. 14 for 25-year-old Ezell Ford who was fatally shot by Los Angeles police on Monday. The march began at West 65th Street where Ford was shot and travelled down South Broadway to LAPD's 77th Division.
Local residents take part in a march on Thursday evening, Aug. 14 for 25-year-old Ezell Ford who was fatally shot by Los Angeles police on Monday. The march began at West 65th Street where Ford was shot and travelled down South Broadway to LAPD's 77th Division.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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The autopsy report for Ezell Ford, 25-year-old unarmed black man was fatally shot by two LAPD officers in August, was released earlier this week. But multiple investigations into the shooting are still ongoing.

The LAPD, the District Attorney's office and the Los Angeles Police Inspector General are each separately investigating the officer-involved shooting, but they say so far witnesses have been reluctant to come forward.

Alex Bustamante, the LAPD Inspector General, says his office has spoken to a couple of witnesses but "unfortunately, we've not been able to talk to or meet with any witnesses that were eyewitnesses, that actually saw the incident occur."

"I'm essentially the watchdog for the Los Angeles Police Department," Bustamante explains.

In any serious use of force, the Office of the Inspector General oversees the department's investigation. Bustamante says he critiques the department's report once it's completed and then gives an independent assessment to the five police commissioners who ultimately determine whether the use of force was appropriate.

But the fact that no eyewitnesses have come forward, Bustamante says, means it's "very difficult for me to do any type of investigation."

Attorney Fred Sayre, a lawyer for Ford's parents, says he has spoken with witnesses who have refused to speak with police and say detectives have harassed them. Bustamante says he isn't aware of any such complaints.

"If anyone does feel that the department has harassed them or otherwise acted inappropriately," Bustamante says, they should bring that information to him. "If you don't want to talk to LAPD and you have information on this case, contact my office."

Bustamante says he can be contacted directly at (213) 482-6833 or at communityrelationsoig@lacity.org.