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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Ezell Ford Family Files $75 Million Federal Lawsuit

Attorney Steven Lerman announces $75 million lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles. 

By Phoenix Tso, Neon Tommy

The family of Ezell Ford, a mentally ill African-American man who Los Angeles Police Department officers shot and killed more than a month ago in South L.A., filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles for $75 million, alleging civil rights violations for their son's death.

Ford family attorney Steven Lerman held a press conference outside of L.A.'s federal courthouse to summarize the civil action. "The $75 million claim against the city of Los Angeles should send a resonating message that we cannot tolerate or stand for the continued conduct of abuse, discrimination and racial profiling that allowed this poor man to be shot dead," he said. Lerman has also represented Rodney King. 

Some community members near West 65th Street and Broadway, where officers confronted Ford, supported this action.

“His family lived over here for over 30-something years. The officers knew his family,” Dawshawn Carr, 36, said. “They shot him in the back. We want justice.”

Another neighborhood man, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the lawsuit doesn’t go far enough. “The city should pay the family without even having them file a lawsuit,” he said. 

Ford’s lawyers say they hope that this civil suit will prompt the filing of criminal charges. “I would also like to see the district attorney for the county of Los Angeles become aggressive and determine when and if they can file murder charges against these two officers," Lerman said. 

When asked for comment, a spokesman for the city attorney’s office said that they don’t comment on pending litigation and that they had not yet read the complaint. The LAPD also declined to comment. Previously, the LAPD said that Ford tackled one of the officers who tried to talk to him on the night of his death, causing him and his partner to open fire. 


If he was mentally defective then how do they come up with 75 million? I seriously doubt he would have made that much in his life time. And the criminal investigation should be finished first.

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