Mentally challenged man killed by LA police had muzzle imprint on back

By Danielle Haynes  |  Dec. 29, 2014 at 5:34 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- The autopsy of an unarmed, mentally challenged black man killed by Los Angeles police in August revealed he was shot three times and had the imprint of a gun muzzle on his back at the site of one of the wounds.

Ezell Ford, 25, died Aug. 11 at a hospital after an an incident with police on the street where he lived.

Police said they shot Ford after he allegedly struggled with officers and attempted to remove a gun from one of their holsters.

An unidentified cousin of Ford's told KTLA at the time that Ford was laying down when he was shot.

The coroner's report, released Monday, said Ford was shot three times -- once in the back, once in the side and once in the arm. The wound on his back had a muzzle imprint, indicating he was shot at close range.

Both the back and side gunshot wounds were fatal, and Ford's death was classified a homicide.

Ford's family has filed a civil lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department and the two officers who shot him. They also filed a $75 million suit against the city.

The family said the two officers involved in Ford's death -- Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas -- knew Ford from the neighborhood and were aware he had mental problems.

Ford's death came two days after unarmed black teen Michael Brown was shot to death in Ferguson, Mo. Brown's death -- and later, the death of Eric Garner, a black man who had been placed in a chokehold by New York police -- sparked nationwide protests about alleged police aggression and the treatment of black men by law enforcement.

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