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Ezell Ford: Autopsy of unarmed black man shot by police shows key details

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(CNN) — His name isn’t as recognizable as Michael Brown’s. But like Brown, Ezell Ford was an unarmed black man shot and killed by police in August.

Now, newly released details of Ford’s death could raise a host of new questions.

Among the findings: The 25-year-old was shot three times, including once in the back. And that wound was surrounded by a muzzle imprint, Ford’s autopsy report shows.

But “there is nothing in the coroner’s report that is inconsistent with the statements given to us by the officers,” Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said.

Ford was shot by Los Angeles police on August 11 — two days after Brown was killed.

The Los Angeles County coroner’s office released the autopsy Monday after the Los Angeles police removed its security hold on it.

The LAPD had put an administrative hold on Ford’s autopsy because the department said it wanted witnesses to come forward before the autopsy’s release.

What happened?

The circumstances leading up to Ford’s death aren’t exactly clear.

According to one of the officers involved, he and Ford got into a “violent struggle,” Beck said.

Ford ended up on top of the officer, with Ford in control of the officer’s pistol, the police chief said.

“The officer drew his backup gun and reached over Mr. Ford’s back and shot Mr. Ford in very close proximity — possibly, probably the cause of the muzzle imprint that’s mentioned in the coroner’s report,” Beck said.

Ford’s family has said he was mentally ill and unarmed.

The police chief said the investigation is far from over.

“We continue to seek the public’s assistance. Any information regarding this incident will help us complete this picture,” Beck said.

He said police have not been able to reach any civilian witnesses who actually saw the shooting.

“We still are searching for witnesses. We still are looking for other versions of events.”

He said the district attorney will make the final determination about whether the shooting met legal standards.

Before the autopsy’s release, a Los Angeles community leader wondered how the shooting could be justified.

“How do you explain when you have this level of deadly force against those that are not even accused of committing a crime and are not even armed?” asked Earl Ofari Hutchinson of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable.

The two officers involved have been assigned to non-field duties as the investigation continues.