LAPD Officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas are suing the city of Los Angeles, contending they have faced “racial discrimination” in the aftermath of the August 11, 2014, shooting that took the life of Ezell Ford.
Wampler and Villegas say that while “they did not commit misconduct” in the shooting, its occurrence in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, resulted in the denial of advancement within the department.
Moreover, both officers have been kept on “desk duty” since the incident.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Wampler and Villegas were part of “anti-gang unit patrolling the LAPD’s Newton Division when they encountered Ford walking outside.” Wampler said Ford attacked him “and tried to grab his firearm.” As a result, “Villegas fired two shots at Ford, and Wampler used a secondary gun to shoot Ford in the back.”
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the officers’ actions were according to policy, and an investigation uncovered evidence supporting Wampler’s claim “that he had been in a fight for his life” before firing.
A police commission, a “civilian panel,” went against Beck, ruling “that Wampler violated the department’s deadly force policy.” The two officers say they have been subtly punished for the shooting in the wake of the commission’s ruling.
The lawsuit describes Wampler as “Causasian,” but “department records have listed him as Asian American.” Villegas is described as Latino. Wampler and Villegas filed their suit with the Los Angeles County Superior Court. They allege they have faced heightened “retaliation … since they submitted complaints in August 2015 with state regulators contending racial discrimination.”
The suit alleges, “Clearly, there is a different standard of discipline meted out to officers solely on account of their race and color of their skin.”
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.