Recall Effort Launched Against L.A. County District Attorney
A recall effort is mounting against Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey for her decision not to file criminal charges against two police officers who shot a mentally ill black man in 2014.
Lacey’s office announced the controversial decision Tuesday, finding that 25-year-old Ezell Ford had tried to grab one of the officers’ guns and presented an immediate threat to police. The recall effort is being launched by National Action Network, a civil rights group led by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
“Lacey has betrayed the trust of our community and has essentially been useless in terms of protecting our citizens from police murder and abuse,” said the L.A. Chapter CEO Rev. K.W. at a press conference Wednesday.
Ford, who had previously been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, was shot after a confrontation with two police officers who were part of an anti-gang unit. The two spotted him sitting on a couch near a house that was known for gang activity and decided to approach him. The Los Angeles Police Commission later faulted one of the two officers in the incident for violating department policy. Ford should have never been approached in the first place, the report concluded, and the officer was largely responsible for how the situation escalated.
Lacey is a popular prosecutor. She ran unopposed last year for re-election. Nevertheless, the Ford case has added to questions “about whether the Los Angeles district attorney’s office provides any meaningful check on police shootings,” said Peter Bibring, director of police practices for the ACLU of Southern California. In 17 years, he said, only one police officer in Southern California has been criminally charged for shooting a member of the public.
Signature gathering for the recall effort began Thursday.