Veteran officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas were named on Thursday as the two officers involved in the fatal shooting of 25-year-old Ezell Ford earlier this month.
Complaints from residents in South Los Angeles about the lack of LAPD transparency in the death of Ford prompted officials to release the the officers’ names. According to the Los Angeles Times, the department said that they delayed naming the officers in order to conduct a thorough “threat assessment” to protect the officers from any harm in what has become a highly charged incident.
Breitbart news has reported that the officers insist that the mentally ill Ford tried to tackle one of the them and grab his gun, which prompted both officers to fire their weapons. However, a Ford family friend told the Times that she witnessed part of the incident and did not observe Ford tackling the officer or reaching for his gun.
Many details of the incident strangely mirror the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American in Ferguson Missouri, that has sparked weeks of protests in the St. Louis suburb and has captured the attention of the entire nation. So far the demonstrations in Los Angeles have been peaceful, and there has been no crime or looting in connection with them.
Yet, that could change if the autopsy report that is due to come out reveals any information that shows the police acted excessively. Stay tuned.