September 10, 2015 


By Thandisizwe Chimurenga 

Contributing Writer




Ezell Ford was shot and killed by Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Officers Sharlton Warmpler and Antonio Villegas on Aug. 11, 2014. A 10-month investigation culminated in the Los Angeles Police Commission, the body that oversees the LAPD, ruling that Warmpler was “unjustified to open fire on Ford … wrong to draw his weapon, and had used unacceptable tactics” when the two officers observed Ford walking down 65th Street near Broadway in South Los Angeles, as reported by the L.A. Times.  The officers state they attempted to subdue Ford which, according to Warmpler, led to a struggle in which Ford attempted to grab his  gun. The Commission ruled that Villegas, who assumed his partner’s life was in imminent danger, was wrong to initially draw his weapon, but was correct to fire the weapon in such a circumstance.


The L.A. Sentinel spoke with Tritobia Ford, mother of Ezell Ford, about the space she was in, one year after the murder of her son by the Los Angeles Police Department. The following is what she had to say:


“I had kind of gotten a little bit excited when I heard the police commission’s decision, and I thought that we were headed towards the right direction, that we would be getting justice, but it seems to me [now] that nobody is respecting the decision that they made,” she said.


 “Police Chief Beck, it doesn’t seem to be a weighing factor [for him] for the discipline or anything like that, he still seems to stand firm that the officers did nothing wrong. His commission, who was over I thought, the police as well as him, ruled the shooting out of policy, so it was very disappointing that nothing seems to be being done.


“I was hopeful that by now the district attorney would have made some kind of decision as to what she plans to do. As well, I was hopeful that there would be some type of federal investigation, that maybe they would step in, because I don’t see where the police can investigate themselves.  It just seems like a big conflict of interest.  I don’t see where anything positive can come out of it.  It just doesn’t make sense to me.


“So, where I am, with the whole thing? I’m not entrusting in anybody. I’m just still praying and believing that, like I said from the beginning, that God won’t allow Ezell to be just taken like he was, for nothing.  There’s going to be something that’s going to happen, and I’m just trying to wait patiently and just believe in my heart and do what I know to be the right things and try not to let myself get so caught up in my feelings that I make regrettable mistakes.


 “[I’m] trying to keep my feelings in check, trying to lead by example for my children and show them that it doesn’t do me a bit of good to be out here whooping and hollering and cussin’ with these forces, that I just have to pray and wait and trust in God and believe that He will lead me to the right solution and a good outcome for everybody involved. The best possible outcome for everybody involved.


“I’ve entrusted in a lot of people, and I’ve been led astray, led wrong. People make all these promises and everything, and they just can’t live up to them. They try, I guess, but I don’t know.  So that’s where I am.  I’m trying not to be bitter and allow myself to just wallow in grief or misery. Just trying to remain positive and hopeful, steadfast and praying and like I said, trying to lead by example.  I don’t want to be this bitter person that is mean and so hateful, but at the same time, my son is gone and there is nothing that can ever bring him back.


“There is nothing that can ever bring him back.


“I’m just praying for God to give me acceptance and to help me and strengthen me thru His love and His grace, to give me the strength to just live.


“District Attorney Lacy has not filed charges as of yet; will there be a further push for these officers to be disciplined, fired, indicted?


“The community has been pushing, and she has yet to come forward. We’ve been pushing, and we haven’t gotten very far.  It’s like, how much can we do? I’ve met with her, and she promised me that her office was going to do a thorough investigation, and weigh all of the evidence, and she would see ... whatever … I don’t know.


“It’s very hard heartening and it’s hard to move towards healing when nothing is happening.  I feel that, at least if they discipline the officers or do something it would help with the healing.  As it seems, it looks like they’re getting away with murder. It’s not fair. It’s not fair.  Ezell got judged, sentenced and executed, just walking down the street. He didn’t even have a fair shot. He didn’t get chance n court. He wasn’t doing anything. Why is he dead?  It’s very hurtful. It’s very hurtful and it’s very hard.


“ It’s very painful.


[The police] want to keep throwing up this gang [stuff], my son wasn’t gang-banging, and I don’t feel that that’s justification. If that’s the case, that gives the police [the justification] just to go around murdering anybody that’s gang-banging regardless? It just isn’t fair.


“And I’m not against all police, I know that there are some good police but, unfortunately, when the good ones don’t come forward and speak about what’s going on with the bad ones, it makes them just as corrupt and bad.  I know that there are officers that … you know how people talk, there’s talk, they know what’s going on, and for them not to come forward and speak, it doesn’t make them good, if they’re going to be silent.


And I do understand that some officers that have been good officers that have spoken against things that haven’t been right, it ends up ruining their career or their lives, but sometimes, you just have to take that stance.”




PHOTO:  NU-EzellFordMother.jpg




Tritobia Ford, mother of Ezell Ford, speaks at a rally in front of the mural in honor of her son at 65th Street and Broadway in South Los Angeles.  (Photo by Marcus Ford)


Category: News

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