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News

LAPD Officers Who Fatally Shot Ezell Ford Sue City, Alleging 'Racial Discrimination'

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People look at a mural of Ezell Ford at the site where he was shot and killed by two LAPD officers in August, on December 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
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Two LAPD officers who fatally shot an unarmed mentally ill man in 2014 have sued the city, alleging they've been kept on desk duty due to "racial discrimination" and retaliation.

Ezell Ford, 25, was shot near his South L.A. home in August 2014; his mother alleged that Ford was already lying on the ground and complying with orders when he was shot, but Officers Tony Villegas and Sharlton Wampler were cleared of any wrongdoing by the department. Ford's killing, which came just days after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, sparked outrage in the city. The Los Angeles Police Commission later overturned the LAPD's decision and issued a mixed ruling on the case, clearing Villegas but finding fault in Wampler's decision to use force. In their lawsuit, Villegas and Wampler call the commission "an inexperienced group of political appointees," according to City News Service.

One of the officers who filed the suit is Latino, and the other is either white or Asian, depending on whom you ask (he identifies as white in the suit; department records list him as Asian). Both allege that they've been discriminated against due to their race, and the race of the black man they fatally shot, according to the L.A. Times. They also claim to have been denied advancement, overtime, transfers and other employment opportunities as retaliation for the shooting. The Times reports that the two officers point to the promotion of a black officer involved in a different fatal shooting that was also deemed to have been flawed as evidence of the racial discrimination against them.

We reached out to the City Attorney's office for comment, but have not yet heard back.