The Los Angeles Police Department's killing of unarmed 25 year-old Ezell Ford has been overshadowed, nationally, by the events surrounding the Ferguson, Mo. killing of Mike Brown, but the police in Los Angeles are paying close attention to the real danger it poses: finger-gun gestures.
The investigation into the death of the mentally-challenged Ford has followed a familiar trajectory. Witnesses say Ford was on the ground and compliant when he was shot multiple times in the back. Police released scant details, but did make an effort to smear the victim as a gang member. Then, they announced an investigative hold on Ford's autopsy report.
They have also released an official account of the police version of events, which reveals that they saw Ford walking on the sidewalk (bad move), stopped the car, and tried to talk to him. They don't say why they were attempting to talk with him, but things took a threatening turn when Ford "continued walking" and "made suspicious movements, including attempting to conceal his hands."
Then came the familiar-sounding "struggle for the gun," at which time, they say, "The partner officer then fired his handgun and the officer on the ground fired his backup weapon at the individual."
The community is feeling the familiar grief and outrage of an unarmed man's life cut short by police bullets, outrage which found expression in the voice of Ceebo Tha Rapper, a cousin f Ezell Ford, who released a rap video in response to the killing. Entitled "Fuck Tha Police," the clip features sentiments like "Hands up, they killed Ez, handcuffed, he couldn't get free, fuck police and fuck peace, when they killed Ez, they shoulda killed me."
It also features finger-guns:
None of this sat well with the Los Angeles Police Protective League, which issued an email alert about the video warning officers "to be on heightened alert and pay extra attention to your tactics and surroundings."
Thanks a lot, Ceebo! Now, police are going to start viewing young black men as threats. Nice going, man.
What's truly unbelievable, yet also completely believable, is the reason LAPPL President Tyler Izen gives for viewing Ceebo's video as a threat. Keep in mind that the cops say they became suspicious of Ezell Ford because he "attempt(ed) to conceal his hands."
"He says, 'F the police,' which generally is not an endearing phrase, and then everybody in there, while they're singing and chanting and dancing, simulate a pistol with their hands and they're pointing them at the camera. What is one to assume from that?"
That's right, black people, now you're a threat if you conceal your hands, and if you don't conceal your hands. Like I told you before, you're better off just cutting them off. You can also add "using phrases that are less-than-endearing" to the list of things that the police think they can shoot you for.
Ceebo explained that the gestures were in reference to police pointing guns at them, and also pointed out that, despite his blackness and youngness, he is not part of a "street gang," as Izen alleged in his email alert:
It is becoming harder and harder to measure justice for the victims of Blackophobia, because no matter what the outcome of the rft of high-profile cases now under various stages of investigation, tragedies like these will continue to happen as long as black people can scare the crap out of people just by pointing their fingers.