Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cops to Jail!
The Whole Damn System Is Guilty As Hell!

Outrage and New Twists in the Fight for Justice for Ezell Ford

June 15, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


On Tuesday afternoon, June 9, following a raucous three-hour public session at LAPD Headquarters, the Los Angeles Police Commission ruled that LAPD cop Sharlton Wampler’s use of deadly force on Ezell Ford—a 25-year-old mentally disabled Black man from South Central LA—violated LAPD policy and was not justified. The Commission also disapproved of LAPD cop Antonio Villegas’ decision to draw his weapon during the initial moments when Wampler and Villegas stopped, attacked, and then shot down Ezell Ford. But the Police Commission concluded Villegas was right and correct to shoot at Ford, because Villegas was supposedly trying to protect his partner, Sharlton Wampler. (For more on the murder of Ezell Ford, including the LAPD having no right whatsoever to stop, attack and shoot Ezell Ford, see “Justice for Ezell Ford! 25-year-old Black man murdered by the LAPD.”)

This decision by the LA Police Commission does not mean the cops who murdered Ezell Ford will be indicted and put on trial. This Commission has no legal right or responsibility to charge any cop of a crime. That responsibility falls to the District Attorney’s (DA) office in Los Angeles County.

This decision by the LA Police Commission is not justice, but it does reveal the concern this system has of losing legitimacy of its “right” to use state-sanctioned violence and murder against oppressed people, especially Black and Latino people, at a time of high stakes for the powers-that-be and for the people.

The LAPD and Inspector General had deemed the murder of Ezell Ford justifiable homicide just days before the LA Police Commission ruling. Since the year 2000, at least 243 people have been killed by the LAPD, and in only two cases in this period, according to Los Angeles Times statistics, has the LA Police Commission disagreed with the LAPD on whether cops justifiably gunned someone down. In other words, the LA Police Commission “rubber stamps” damn near every murder the LAPD carries out, and traffics in covering up mass brutality and murder by the LAPD.

While some are saying “The LA Police Commission sided with the people...,” what instead is taking place is the powers-that-be are scrambling, in a national context of powerful protests and rebellion to stop murder by police. This is a crucial to grasp, because for justice to be won in the case of Ezell Ford—these murdering cops need to be indicted, convicted, and sent to jail. And, for that to happen, only determined mass resistance in the streets has a chance of creating a situation where the powers-that-be are put on the defensive to such an extent that they are forced to indict and convict these pigs and send them to jail.

Achieving justice for Ezell Ford and stopping this slow genocide of Black people, which the LAPD murder of Ezell is one concentration of, can’t be won by lining up behind one section of ruling class representatives vs. another, nor by promoting illusions that these instruments of power—whether the LAPD or the Police Commission—can be pressured to serve the people’s interests.


This LA Police Commission ruling comes at a time when in the face of a national upsurge and uprising to stop murder by police the U.S. authorities and their police are “doubling down.” Police continue to kill on average more than 100 people a month and the exoneration of numerous killer cops nationwide has occurred one after the other during these past two months. (See “In One Week: Murdering Police Go Free All Over the USA—THIS MUST STOP!”)

The credibility of the “reformed” LAPD as well as the supposed “impartiality” of the Police Commission might have been questioned by far greater numbers of people and sections of society if the commission had rubber-stamped the murder of Ezell Ford. In recent years, the authorities have been able to “get over” in a significant way with this mythology (that the LAPD is “reformed” and the Police Commission is “independent and impartial”)—even at a time when the LAPD leads in the nation in killings by police!1 But powerful resistance to murder by police has come forward in the U.S., and much is at stake for this system and its ability to shore up these illusions at a time when there is a spotlight on the historic and present-day brutality and murder visited on Black people in the U.S.

This decision by the Police Commission does—at least potentially—heighten expectations among broad sections of people that an indictment should come down on these murdering cops. So, while this Police Commission decision momentarily gives the mayor of Los Angeles (and other ruling class representatives) an opportunity to crow about how great this system works, it also raises expectations that there might actually be some justice here. But criminally indicting these LAPD cops is an entirely different matter, especially at a time when the police are being unleashed in an intensified crackdown on the people—“doubling down” (not backing down) as a response to the national protests, and the rebellions, aimed at stopping murder by police.

The Los Angeles District Attorney is Jackie Lacey, who heads up the largest local prosecutorial office in the U.S. However, Lacey hasn’t been in the business of prosecuting many police for the brutality, frame-ups and murders they commit. Lacey has been with the District Attorney’s office for 29 years, a front-line prosecutor half that time, and has been head DA in LA for over two years. During this entire 29-year period, not one LAPD cop has been indicted and convicted of murder for an on-duty killing of any one of the hundreds of people shot down or beaten to death by the LAPD. Again, for an indictment and a conviction of killer cops to happen in the case of Ezell Ford, a ferocious political battle must be stepped up.

The Police Commission’s ruling that the cops shooting of Ezell Ford was “out of policy” is meant to rope people into believing they should now sit back and the “let the system work.” No! Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cops to Jail!



1 According to The Counted, a project of the Guardian newspaper, which counts the number of people killed by police and other law enforcement agencies in the U.S., of the 18,000 police agencies in the U.S., killings by the LAPD are the highest of any police agency so far in 2015. These include the March 1 execution of Brother Africa on Skid Row (captured on video and seen by millions) and the May 5 gunning down of Brendon Glenn in Venice, CA (a video exists, but it being hidden by the LAPD). [back]


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