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Protester Janelle Pittman holds her 6-year-old daughter, Kat, as police in riot gear stand guard in Ferguson, Mo. on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. / Jeff Roberson AP

The Los Angeles Police Department is saying that an unarmed black man who died after being shot Monday by two officers attempted to take one of the officers' guns just before the scuffle.

Details about the shooting of Ezell Ford, 25, whom relatives have described as mentally impaired, began trickling out Tuesday as developments revolving around the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police in Missouri continued to escalate.

In the Los Angeles case, the police department said in a statement released Wednesday that two officers on gang detail saw Ford walking along a sidewalk and when they stopped and attempted to talk to him, he made "suspicious movements" and tried to hide his hands.

When the officers got closer, the man "grabbed one of the officers," according to the statement, and a struggle followed.

They all fell to the ground and Ford tried to grab one officer's gun, according to the LAPD release. Both officers then fired at Ford, the LAPD said.

The officers handcuffed the injured man and called for an ambulance, which transported him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the LAPD said.

"The LAPD views any loss of life as a great tragedy," Earl Paysinger, acting LAPD chief, said in a statement. "The LAPD investigates, reviews, and adjudicates all officer-involved shootings as thoroughly and transparently as possible and with the independent review and oversight of the Los Angeles Police Commission, its Office of Inspector General, and the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office."

LAPD Commander Andy Smith asked the public to absorb all the facts before making conclusions.

"There is a lot of misinformation out there," Smith told the Los Angeles Times. "Mr. Ford basically tackled one of our officers and went for his gun."

Others, however, described a scene in which a man allegedly known by local police to be mentally impaired presented a questionable threat.

One witness who identified himself to KTLA as a cousin of Ford said Ford was shot three times in the back as he lay on the ground and that mentally, he had "complications."

Ford's mother, Tritobia Ford, told KTLA that police were aggressive with her when she tried to find out what happened.

"I got pushed on the ground in the process of trying to to find out what was going on with my son," Tritobia Ford told KTLA.

The man who identified himself as a witness told KTLA that officers also pulled out billy clubs when Tritobia Ford approach them.

Community members are planning a rally for Sunday afternoon at LAPD headquarters, according to KTLA.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a Los Angeles-based activist and president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, told the Los Angeles Times that emotions over the Ford case are amplified by the developments in Ferguson, Mo., where Michael Brown, 18, died after being shot by a police officer.

"If in fact Ferguson hadn't happened, if in fact we hadn't seen what we've seen the last two days there ... I don't know there would be the same sense of urgency," Hutchinson told the Times.



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: LAPD: Man reached for officer's gun before fatal shots

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