Los Angeles police chief pleads for eyewitnesses to police shooting of black man in summer

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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck made a plea Thursday for eyewitnesses of a police shooting of a black man to come forward before the mayor requires the autopsy results to be released next month.

Police Chief Charlie Beck told reporters at a news conference that LAPD investigators haven't heard from anyone who directly saw the Aug. 11 shooting of Ezell Ford. He said "we want the truth" and urged witnesses to come forward to ensure a thorough investigation.

Those wary of talking to police can contact the LAPD's independent inspector general or the district attorney's office, Beck said.

Police ordered Ford's autopsy results withheld, saying they didn't want to taint potential witnesses statements. But Mayor Eric Garcetti promised Thursday that they'll be released next month.

Ford, 25, was unarmed when police confronted him on a street near his home. Officers said they tried to speak with Ford but ended up in a struggle in which they shot him when he tried to grab an officer's gun. A family friend has said, however, that she saw no struggle.

Ford's parents have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit and a $75 million claim against the city. Their attorney, Steve Lerman, has said his investigator found witnesses to support his case but he refused to divulge details.

Ford's killing inspired several peaceful protests and marches through the city, where demonstrators connected the death with that of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, just days earlier.

The Aug. 9 killing of Brown, 18, who was unarmed and also black, sparked rioting and violent clashes with heavily armed police in the St. Louis suburb.

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