LAPD Officers Who Fatally Shot Ezell Ford Sue City Over Racial Discrimination, Retaliation

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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)

The two Los Angeles police officers who fatally shot Ezell Ford filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the city, alleging they are being kept on desk duty because of racial discrimination and retaliation by their superiors.

Officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas contend that although they did not commit misconduct during the Aug. 11, 2014, killing of Ford near his South L.A. home, they have been denied advancement and other employment opportunities because of their race and that of Ford’s.

The death of Ford, a 25-year-old African American man who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, occurred just two days after the controversial killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and stoked local protests over the deaths of black men by law enforcement.

Wampler is described in the lawsuit as Caucasian, though department records have listed him as Asian American; Villegas is Latino.

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