Los Angeles, CA – Responsible for killing an unarmed, mentally ill man and shooting him in the back, two LAPD officers filed a lawsuit against the city on Wednesday alleging they are victims of racial discrimination within the department. Although the cops illegally stopped Ezell Ford and violated his civil rights without any probable cause, these incompetent officers want financial restitution from the city because they have not received promotions within the last two years.
On August 11, 2014, officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas of LAPD’s Newton Area Gang Enforcement Detail saw Ford walking down the sidewalk and decided to conduct an investigative stop. According to an LAPD press release, Wampler and Villegas exited their vehicle and attempted to talk to Ford who reportedly continued walking with his hands in his pockets.
Due to the fact that Wampler had arrested Ford for marijuana possession in 2008, the officer had been aware that Ford suffered from depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Seeking another easy drug bust, Wampler and Villegas exited the vehicle with Villegas immediately drawing his gun for no apparent reason.
According to Wampler, Ford stepped between a parked car and some bushes when the officer suddenly grabbed the mentally ill man’s right shoulder from behind. Although Wampler claimed that he suspected Ford had been carrying drugs or a weapon, neither were found at the scene.
Witness statements do not corroborate the officers’ version of events, in which Ford allegedly turned around and tackled Wampler. Instead, witnesses assert that Wampler tackled Ford to the ground without provocation when Ford rolled over and found himself on top of Wampler.
During the struggle, Wampler accused Ford of reaching for his holstered gun when Villegas shot him in the right arm and side. After reaching for his back-up piece, Wampler claimed that he had reached behind Ford and shot him in the back at pointblank range.
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Within 13 seconds, the LAPD officers had exited their vehicle and repeatedly shot an unarmed, mentally ill man to death. After suppressing Ford’s autopsy report for months, the LAPD eventually released the report at the behest of the mayor.
Despite the fact that LAPD Chief Charlie Beck initially found that his officers had been justified in the actions, the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners determined that Wampler had violated Ford’s civil rights by illegally detaining him without probable cause. The Board also found that Wampler and Villegas had violated numerous policies, including tactics, drawing of weapon, use of non-lethal force, and use of deadly force.
After Ford’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the LAPD for racially profiling their son, Wampler and Villegas filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the city on Wednesday. Described in the lawsuit as Caucasian, Wampler is listed as an Asian American within department records. Villegas is Latino.
According to their lawsuit, both officers claim they have unfairly been assigned to desk duty since the shooting and cannot be promoted to the rank of sergeant because of their non-field status. But according to the Board’s findings, neither officer deserves a promotion due to their incompetence and ignorance of the law.
Even though Wampler and Villegas only sustained minor scrapes during the altercation and did not require hospitalization, their lawsuit seeks damages for physical, mental, and emotional injuries. Accusing their superiors of racial discrimination and retaliation, their suit states, “Clearly, there is a different standard of discipline meted out to officers solely on account of their race and color of their skin.”
By filing the racial discrimination lawsuit, Wampler and Villegas have delivered another slap to the face of every citizen of Los Angeles that they expect to pay their ludicrous suit. As though killing an unarmed, mentally ill man innocently walking down the street was not enough of an insult, these delusional cops believe they actually deserve to return to patrol duty as the rift between the police and the community continues to widen with each passing day.
[author title="" image="https://"]Andrew Emett is a Los Angeles-based reporter exposing political and corporate corruption. His interests include national security, corporate abuse, and holding government officials accountable. Andrew's work has appeared on Raw Story, Alternet, Activist Post, and many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @AndrewEmett and on Facebook at Andrew Emett.[/author]