From Michael Brown in Ferguson to Ezell Ford in LA—Jail the Killer Cops!

by Michael Slate | August 20, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Ezell Ford liked to walk. Once he even walked from his South Central LA neighborhood to Long Beach, a distance of at least 20 miles. He liked to walk the streets of his neighborhood, the streets he grew up on, the streets where he played as a young child. His mom said he loved to play basketball when he was a kid. She said he was a “free spirit.” As he grew up, Ezell got sick, he was diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. But still he walked through his neighborhood and everybody knew him and knew that he had “mental complications.” Everybody in the neighborhood knew about Ezell. He never hurt anybody; he’d just ask them for cigarettes. But Ezell Ford was a 25-year-old Black man and that was enough to get him a death sentence from the system. On August 11, sometime around 8 pm, Ezell’s body was laid out at the corner of 65th and Broadway, shot three times by two LAPD cops. They handcuffed him as he lay dying on the ground. Ezell’s mom saw him lying there, his blood staining the ground around him. She tried to reach him, to hold him. She tried to find out what happened. The LAPD threw her to the ground. Ezell was pronounced dead a short time later in the hospital.

Images from protests against the murders of Ezell Ford and Michael Brown by police. Photos: special to Revolution

The LAPD immediately started the whitewash. They said they stopped Ezell in an “investigative stop.” In other words, a young Black man walking down a street in his neighborhood is more than enough cause for a police investigation; in fact, it’s a crime. The police claim that Ezell started walking weird, hiding his hands in a suspicious manner. If you want to know what that means, just imagine being a young, mentally ill Black man, alone on a street with two goons from the LAPD Gang Squad coming at you. Of course you’re walking weird—maybe scared to death is a better description. And then they claim that he attacked one cop and tried to get that cop’s gun. Both cops opened fire, three LAPD bullets smashed into Ezell’s body.

Trouble is, people saw it all. Ezell’s neighbors yelled that he had “mental problems,” hoping that would rein in the cops. Eyewitnesses tell a whole different story than the cops. One childhood friend of Ezell’s saw two cops, both towering over Ezell, get out of the car and approach him. This friend said Ezell looked frightened and confused and within minutes the cops had wrestled him to the ground and shot him three times. A woman who was sitting across the street saw the cops jump out of their car and push him into a corner where they beat him. She said that she saw Ezell on the ground and then heard a shot. She saw one cop with his knee on Ezell and then heard another shot, and then a third. This woman also says that before the shooting happened she heard one cop say, “Shoot him.” Ezell’s mother says she was told that he was lying on the ground obeying the cops' orders when they shot him. The LAPD dismisses all of the eyewitness accounts with the comment, “There’s a lot of disinformation out there.”

The LAPD murdered Ezell Ford, an unarmed, scared and mentally ill young Black man, for walking down the street. And then they murdered him again as they dug up his “criminal record"—Ezell had been convicted of marijuana possession and illegal possession of a loaded firearm. He had also been put on probation for trespassing. None of this has anything at all to do with why two cops from the local gang division of the LAPD stopped Ezell Ford and then murdered him. The LAPD has also announced that it is putting an “investigative hold” on Ezell’s autopsy report. The cops say that they don’t want the information in the autopsy report to be public yet because they don’t want people to use that information to color their testimony about what happened. An LAPD Commander told one reporter that they didn’t want people to be able to use information from the autopsy to “give credibility to their story.” And once again, the LAPD refuses to release the names of the assassins, citing possible threats against the killers.

Ezell was murdered on August 11. A little more than a week earlier, in the same neighborhood, the cops beat a Latino man, Omar Abrego, to death outside of his home for supposedly driving erratically and being “on cocaine.” Two days before Ezell was killed, Michael Brown was assassinated in Ferguson, Missouri, sparking off an inspiring, righteous and defiant rebellion.

Ezell’s family has refused to drown their grief in tears alone. Ezell’s family, friends and others have organized people in the neighborhood and from all over LA and Southern California to bring their anger to the streets, marching and confronting the authorities wherever they can, demanding Justice. Thousands have taken to the streets in the week since Ezell was killed. And as they fight, one thing will always be clear: Ezell was murdered for one reason, being Black in America. And that one fact alone demands justice.

This has to end now! The brave defiance of the people in Ferguson, Missouri is inspiring people all across the country and these are the moments when people everywhere are learning a lot. People in LA have been taking to the streets, but this needs to grow by leaps and bounds, spreading the fight and the demands for justice.

Justice for Michael Brown!
Justice for Ezell Ford!
Release the Autopsy Report!
Name, Indict and Jail the Killer Cops!


From readers: South Central LA, August 18:

Marching Against Police Murders from Ferguson to LA

Here in LA, there have been almost daily protests in support of Ferguson and against the murder of Ezell Ford and Omar Abrego—both killed by Newton Division's notorious gang unit, called “the shootin' Newton” by people in the neighborhood. One person even told us this murdering pig unit have this on a banner up in their precinct.

We'll be writing more about this, but Ezell Ford was a 25-year-old Black man with a mental illness. Everyone in the neighborhood knew him, including the police. He was shot in the back three times as he was face down. This happened Monday night, August 11.

Omar Abrego was a father of three, savagely beaten to death a week earlier, on August 2, just four blocks from where Ezell Ford was murdered.

On Monday night, August 18, there was a march from where Ezell Ford was murdered to the site of Omar Abrego's murder. The march then continued around the neighborhood.

People are learning more about what's happening in Ferguson, and this added a whole other level of defiance to the march. Especially from among the Black and Latino youth—who are most cast off by this system, and most often feel the hard edge of brutality—there was a feeling of tremendous defiance and joy... even dancing in the streets. When they saw the pigs driving around in their cars, they would point them out, including pointing out undercovers who are well known in the neighborhood. They would chant at them with a feeling of right on their side—finally. And a feeling that they had some social backing. They were standing up and it felt right to stand up.

People who were driving by in their cars parked and joined. Cars that drove with the march had their radios blasting, “fuck the police.”

One woman from the neighborhood talked about how important the protests have been—to really fight for justice for these innocent lives taken. Also, that for the first time in a long time there is unity among the people who are finally pointing their political aim in the right direction—at the system causing all this mayhem and misery. The “normal situation” is the pigs “doing this to us all the time”—killing and dogging the youth and the “normal situation” is the way people far too often are set against each other. This is part of what has changed—and has to be maintained and carried forward while we fight to make real the demands from Ferguson to LA:

INDICT and JAIL the COP who killed Michael Brown!
Release the autopsy of Ezell Ford! Indict and Jail the Killer Cops!


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