LOS ANGELES (Aug. 19, 2014) — Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA) expresses sadness and outrage at the fatal shooting of Ezell Ford, an unarmed African American man with a history of mental illness, at the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), and demands a full and transparent investigation of Ford’s death.
Ford’s death comes tragically on the heels of a number of other fatal shootings of African American men by law enforcement officials around the nation, including that of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The killings of Ford and Brown by law enforcement expose the systemic and entrenched nature of racial profiling and racial discrimination that African Americans have long endured and fought against in the struggle for civil and human rights.
As Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, our communities also have experienced police brutality and discrimination by law enforcement. We have too many stories of our own youth and other community members being shot or beaten by law enforcement, including a 2012 case where a young, limited-English speaking Asian immigrant with mental illness was shot dead by the Los Angeles County Sheriff in a San Gabriel Valley mental health clinic.
Advancing Justice – LA joins the African American community and other civil rights and social justice groups in demanding justice for Ezell Ford, including a full and transparent investigation and an examination of mental health intervention policies by the LAPD. We also urge all Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders to stand in solidarity with Ezell Ford, Michael Brown, and other African American victims of police brutality, because we recognize that our struggles are inextricably tied to those of other communities who face systemic racism or oppression. Together we can achieve justice for all of our communities.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles is the nation’s largest Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) legal and civil rights organization and serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year. Founded in 1983 as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Advancing Justice – LA’s mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society. Through direct legal services, impact litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, leadership development and capacity building, Advancing Justice – LA seeks to serve the most vulnerable members of the AANHPI community while also building a strong AANHPI voice for civil rights and social justice.