Police are investigating the shooting death of a Los Angeles man after family members claimed he was shot multiple times in the back by LAPD officers while lying on the ground.
The allegations come amid outrage surrounding the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer in a St. Louis, Missouri, suburb.
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In the L.A. case, Tritobia Ford has claimed that her 25-year-old son, Ezell, was following police orders when he was shot while lying on the ground, according to KTLA
Police issued a statement saying that during "an investigative stop" in the Florence neighborhood "a struggle ensued" and police opened fire.
"My heart is so heavy," Tritobia Ford told KTLA. "My son was a good kid. He didn't deserve to die the way he did. All we want to know is why they did it."
A man, who identified himself only as a cousin of the victim, told the station that Ezell was mentally challenged.
"They laid him out and for whatever reason, they shot him in the back, knowing mentally, he has complications. Every officer in this area . . . knows that this child has mental problems," he said.
"The excessive force. There was no purpose for it. The multiple shootings in the back while he's laying down? No. Then when the mom comes, they don't try to console her. They pull the billy clubs out."
The LAPD's Force Investigation Division is handling the inquiry to ascertain whether the shooting fell within guidelines mandating that the use of force to be "objectively reasonable," The Los Angeles Times
In the wake of the St. Louis incident, Attorney General Eric Holder
said there should be full investigation into the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown that followed an alleged struggle with an unidentified officer.
The shooting in Ferguson led to street rioting, looting, and stores being set on fire, resulting in the arrest of three dozen people. The Justice Department dispatched its Community Relations Service to the area to help calm the racial tension.
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