“I do not know what Ezell Ford is but I will look it up. ”
That is how I learned that a week ago a 25 year old Black male by the name of Ezell Ford was killed by the LAPD while chatting with Andrew Kishino. Before I begin let me explain why I called this While You Were Sleeping.
I started the What People Care About This Week as a response to someone who told me that all I write about is gossip (they obviously don't know that I write for 9 separate blogs ranging from food to art) and to sarcastically and seriously point out what was big in the news for the week but would be replaced with something else and the other being forgotten. Remember when the Michael Brown shooting and Ferguson was a big deal? This is going to be about the things that not only I missed, but are not being talked about.
While You Were Sleeping will be about what was swept under the rug, not reported because it wasn't sensational enough, or overshadowed by Nicki Minaj's lack of talent or Miley Cyrus having her ass wiped with a Mexican flag.
With Ezell Ford there are conflicting reports as there usually are when it comes to police being involved. On one side you have those that say that Ezell was approached by police for no reason and was shot even after complying. For anyone that thinks that does not happen you may recall Oscar Grant being shot by police as he lay handcuffed and face down on the ground in front of witnesses. The officer who did it, Johannes Mehserle, was sentenced to two years. He did less than one year in a private cell and is free on parole. He didn't even do his time in Oakland where the shooting happened but here in Los Angeles. The film Fruitvale is about the victim and what led to the shooting.
The police, one Latino and one Asian American, say they got out of their car and tried to talk to Ezell as he walked on 65th near Broadway. A preliminary report from the LAPD says that Ezell tackled one of the officers and reached for their gun making each of them shoot him dead. A friend of the family who witnessed part of the incident says she saw no struggle. How close did the police need to get to talk to him I wonder. My guess is striking distance.
This all took place two days after the Michael Brown shooting and I never heard a single word about it.
Its not that I expect to hear every bit of news that happens in the world of for the news to report every shooting the LAPD does. There would be no news for anything else if that were the case. But I am surprised that I would not have heard this story if it wasn't for a conversation online that started about Daniele Watts and her race card throwing like she was a Black Gambit. If that line makes any sense to you you're now my new friend.
I shouldn't be surprised that I didn't hear about this though. There have been no riots about this. No stores burned. The protests there have been have been peaceful. “If it bleeds it leads” and a bunch of Black folk marching peacefully over the shooting of another Black male is not a lead story unless it is followed by more violence. Ezell's parents are filing a civil suit against the LAPD with their lawyer, Steven A. Lerman saying “Today brings us to a start for a search for justice. No millions of dollars or any type of award could bring that young man back to his family, and that is the ultimate tragedy.”
I forgot to mention that Ezell was also mentally ill. In the civil suit the family is accusing the LAPD of failing to supervise their officers properly as well as saying the officers were “reckless and acted with callous indifference.” The also want punitive damages for mental suffering, emotional stress, and loss of enjoyment of life. They also want compensation for legal fees as well as funeral expenses. In addition, their lawyer has also tacked on a $75 million claim against the city in the family's name.
I used to think it was silly to sue for a lot of money until I got older. I started to realize that compassion does not work in these situations. No one hears that. No one in the position of an officer that will shoot a man down the way some of these people do think of the family that is left with a dead child. But they understand money. Oh, everyone speaks money. Look at how swiftly the NFL is acting after the Ray Rice assault of his then fiancee Janay tape got released. They are doing retroactive punishments. So I get the $75 million dollar lawsuit. The family won't get a tenth of that from the city but it sends a message that they also know that money talks.
The police, not just the LAPD, now behaves like bouncers or celebrity security. You know what I mean. People with power and no real understanding of how to use it properly. That “I'm wearing this so you have to do whatever I say” mentality.
Underneath their uniforms the LAPD are just humans just like you and I. And just like you and I there are bound to be some that aren't 100% there mentally. No matter where you work or what you do you know someone that makes you go “I don't know how the fuck he/she got this job.” It just so happens when these type of people work within the police force they can shoot you dead in the streets and get vacation for it.
The speech that MLK made comes to mind whenever I think of how I am looked at by not just the police but those that cross the street when I am walking towards them or will stand up for an hour on a bumpy bus instead of sitting next to me. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Me and lots of other people of many races are having the content of our character judged by the color of our skin.