Ezell Ford Shooting: Officer Involved in Death Was Defendant in 2011 Civil Rights Complaint
One of the LAPD officers named Thursday as being involved in the fatal South Los Angeles shooting of Ezell Ford was a defendant in a federal civil rights lawsuit that claimed he was one of two officers who repeatedly held a man’s head underwater in a violent encounter.
The Los Angeles Police Department released the names of the two Newton Division gang enforcement detail officers — Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas — who police said both fired their weapons at 25-year-old Ford on Aug. 11 near 65th and Broadway.
The names were released after an investigation into “potential threats to the safety of the officers” and efforts to mitigate those threats, the department said in a statement.
Ford’s death, coming soon after the shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has sparked multiple protests and calls for police accountability.
An LAPD account of Ford’s death said he grabbed an officer, the pair fell to the ground and then Ford reached for the officer’s gun before being shot by both officers. Family members described Ford as mentally ill and said he was complying with officer orders when they shot him while he was lying on the ground.
Wampler has been with the department 12 years, while Villegas has been with LAPD eight years, a department spokeswoman said friday.