LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Police Department on Thursday publicly identified the two officers involved in the fatal shooting Aug. 11 of an unarmed black man in South LA.
The officers were identified as Officer Sharlton Wampler and Officer Antonio Villegas, both assigned to the Newton Station’s Gang Enforcement Detail, according to the LAPD.READ MORE: Kings Lose To Flames 3-2, Markstrom Makes 40 Saves
Police said Ford was combative and failed to comply with them around 8:10 p.m. in the 200 block of West 65th Street.
The officers said Ford struggled with them and reached for their guns.
Ford’s family denied their son was capable of resisting and cited his mental challenges. He was unarmed.
Ford was declared dead at the scene.
The shooting, like the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Mo., has touched off protests and rallies calling for an end to “excessive” force by law enforcement and more transparency.
CBS2’s Rachel Kim reported Friday that at least one of the officers involved in the shooting has been accused in the past of civil rights violations.
Witnesses told Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson that Ford was definitely not resisting when police shot him.
“They said that Ford was not resisting, that he had mental challenges, and that police officers in the area were well aware of him and his condition,” Hutchinson said.READ MORE: Statements From Los Angeles Community College District and California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office
In a statement Thursday, Hutchinson said release of the names was an important first step.
“The identification of the officers involved in the Ezell Ford slaying allows us to determine if the officers performance record and that includes discipline for any prior instances of or pattern of misconduct or involvement in other officer shootings. This could be major factor in the investigation to find whether excessive force was used in the Ford killing,” he wrote.
The LAPD explained that they delay release of the officer’s names in such circumstances to protect their safety as well as the safety of their families.
Police also told CBS2’s Kim that authorities had to investigate potential threats, as well.
Kim also reported that Wampler was the subject of a civil rights complaint in 2011.
In court documents obtained by Kim, a family named Hernandez claimed that Wampler and his then-partner unlawfully searched their property on E. 35th Street.. beating and even macing them. Ultimately, three family members were arrested. Attorney James Segall-Gutierrez, who represented the family, says the case was eventually dismissed.
The officers have been put on routine paid leave following the Ford shooting. Kim said the LAPD didn’t want to make a comment this evening. Earlier, they said the officers were taking the death hard.
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