Tag: District Attorney Jackie Lacey

Los Angeles City Council Approves $1.5 Million Settlement in Police Killing of Ezell Ford

Ezell Ford street memorial (photo via latimes.com)

article by Kate Mather and David Zahniser via latimes.com

The Los Angeles City Council agreed Wednesday to pay $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of Ezell Ford, whose 2014 killing by Los Angeles Police Department officers became a local touchstone in the national outcry over police shootings.The settlement comes two weeks after Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey announced she would not criminally charge the two officers who shot Ford during a scuffle in his South L.A. neighborhood.

The Aug. 11, 2014 shooting of Ford, a 25-year-old black man, generated controversy almost immediately. More than two years later, local activists and others use his death as an example in their ongoing criticism over how officers interact with black and Latino residents. Many — including those with the Black Lives Matter movement — still describe the shooting as an unjust killing, continuing to chant Ford’s name along with others killed by police.

Ford, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, was walking near his South L.A. home when two officers assigned to an anti-gang unit tried to stop him. After Ford ignored officers’ commands, authorities said, Officer Sharlton Wampler tried to grab him. He later told investigators he thought the 25-year-old was trying to toss drugs. Authorities said Ford then knocked Wampler to the ground and tried to grab his gun during a scuffle, prompting both Wampler and his partner to shoot.

In a 28-page memo outlining their decision not to charge the officers, prosecutors said Ford’s DNA was found on Wampler’s holster, and bloodstains on the officer’s uniform and scuff marks on his utility belt suggested Ford was on top of him during the struggle. In 2015, the Police Commission concluded that Wampler violated LAPD policy when he fired at Ford. The board said it looked at the “totality of the circumstances” — not just the moment he fired — and faulted the officer’s decision to approach and physically contact Ford.

To read full article, go to: L.A. City Council approves $1.5-million settlement in police killing of Ezell Ford – LA Times

L.A. County D.A. Jackie Lacey to Create Unit to Review Wrongful Conviction Claims

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office is creating a unit dedicated to examining wrongful-conviction claims, joining a small but growing number of prosecutorial agencies around the country that are devoting resources to identify innocent prisoners.

Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey
Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey

Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey is asking county supervisors for nearly $1 million to fund the new team, which would include three prosecutors, an investigator and a paralegal.

In seeking the funds, Lacey’s office said it wanted to keep up with an increasing number of wrongful-conviction claims that have followed the advent of similar units around the country as well as a growing number of innocence projects and increased publicity of innocence claims, said county spokesman Dave Sommers.

“This is exactly what should happen in every district attorney’s office in America,” said Justin Brooks, director of the California Innocence Project at the California Western School of Law in San Diego. “We all have the same goal: to make sure the right people are in prison.”

While such units are still rare, Los Angeles would join more than 15 district attorney offices around the country that have adopted similar teams, including Santa Clara County, Dallas County, Brooklyn and Manhattan, as well as the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, D.C.

Los Angeles’ proposal remained largely under wraps until last week, when Lacey addressed a group of attorneys and students at Loyola Law School on Friday and mentioned she had been promised funding for a conviction review unit. She gave no details and did not return calls for comment.

A district attorney’s spokeswoman declined to discuss the plan until after the Board of Supervisors formally approves the funding in the coming weeks. The county’s recommended budget includes money for the unit for the next fiscal year, which starts in July.

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