Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles issued the following statement on Aug. 19:

“Advancing Justice-L.A. 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, 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, Mo. 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.”

In response to an Aug. 20 Daily Beast article, “Ferguson’s Other Race Problem: Riots Damaged Asian-Owned Stores,” Advancing Justice-L.A. Executive Director Stewart Kwoh said:

“In the coming weeks, we will likely hear stories from Ferguson about ongoing protests by African American community members and allies, similar to the days following the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles. At that time, the media pitted communities of color against one another. We cannot allow this to happen again.

“This is about dangerous, harmful law enforcement practices and the need to end racially motivated police practices that target communities of color. The Asian American and Pacific Islander community stands with the African American community in this fight.”

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