LAPD Officer Who Shot Ezell Ford Had Arrested Him 6 Years Earlier

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Jason Smith, 17, at his cousin Ezell Ford's memorial near 65th Street and Broadway. (Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

One of two Los Angeles police officers who fatally shot a mentally ill man in South L.A. last year had arrested him for marijuana possession six years earlier, according to a police report obtained by The Times.

The document shows that LAPD Officer Sharlton Wampler and a partner arrested Ezell Ford and two of his family members in April 2008 after noticing a smell of marijuana coming from a Dodge van registered to Ford. Inside the vehicle, the officers found marijuana, a small weighing scale and small plastic baggies, the arrest report said.

The report is the first indication that any of the officers involved in Ford’s shooting had previous contact with the 25-year-old.

But it remains unclear whether Wampler knew of Ford’s mental illness or whether the officer recognized Ford from his 2008 arrest when the two men encountered each other again on Aug. 11.

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