The long-delayed autopsy report of an unarmed black man shot by L.A. police more than four months ago is finally set to be released this week, the LAPD told Fusion.
Ezell Ford was shot in August by two LAPD officers but the police department placed an administrative hold on the release of the report citing a search for more witnesses.
The report could offer more insight into conflicting accounts of what happened moments before Ford was shot. LAPD officials say Ford was resisting arrest and was shot when he tried to take an officer's handgun. But witnesses have told local reporters Ford was face-down on the ground when he was killed.
An LAPD spokeswoman told Fusion the department is on schedule to release the autopsy report sometime in the next three days.
The report's release will come during an already heated nationwide debate about police officers using excessive force and police accountability. Ford’s death occurred two days after the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
Last month, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti last month ordered the police department to release the autopsy report before the end of the year.
"I am ordering the results of this autopsy be released," Garcetti said at a press conference in November. "I think that is important for the family, that is important for the community, that is important for our city as well as our department."
Security holds on autopsy reports involving police shooting generally take weeks. The chief of investigations at the coroner's office told the L.A. Times it was unusual to see a months-long hold on the autopsy release.
For reference, Eric Garner died July 1st, 2014; the New York City medical examiner released autopsy results a month later on August 1st.
The delay for the release of Ford’s autopsy report has caused frustration and raised suspicion of wrongdoing among local community leaders.
The South Central Neighborhood Council unanimously passed a resolution that said the lack of information surrounding recent deaths "has led to increased concerns in our community that the LAPD is trying to conceal the truth of how these men died."
“The delay [for autopsy report] is unusual but the circumstances of our immediate times are unusual,” said attorney Steven A. Lerman, referring to the recent shootings in the St. Louis area and New York that involved officers.
Lerman, who represented Rodney King, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the LAPD on behalf of Ford’s parents. The lawsuit seeks $75 million in damages.
Edsell and Tritobia Ford claim the two officers racially profiled their son and stopped him on his walk home even though he was not committing a crime. The suit also alleges the two officers knew Ezell Ford was mentally ill and that the officers acted "reckless and acted with callous indifference" of his rights.
The department says the case is still under investigation.
Local news stations have reported the autopsy report could be released Monday. An LAPD spokeswoman would not confirm the date and time the report will be made public.
Activists have scheduled a protest in front of the LAPD headquarters in downtown L.A. tomorrow afternoon.