On of the biggest topics during this volatile summer for Black people and the police force has been the protection of the officers involved. People feel as though since the police officers who have been shooters or chokers should be held responsible for their instances of excessive force use. Some feel it took too long to even name Mike Brown‘s killer, Officer Darren Wilson, who remains free. Two weeks after the killing of Ezell Ford at the hands of LAPD officers, the department has chosen to release the names of the officers involved.
The shooters of the 22-year-old, unarmed, mentally challenged Ezell Ford were Officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas. The officers serve on the LAPD’s gang enforcement detail, the Newton Division. Wampler and Villegas are both veterans. Wampler has been on the force for 12 years and Villegas has been on for eight.
The department released the shooters‘ identities due to pressure imposed on it by disgruntled LA residents and others who are outraged by the police’s actions. Law enforcement had to analyze the officers’ safety by conducting a “threat assessment” gauging potential threats. According to the LA Times, “The California Supreme Court recently ruled that police departments must generally provide the names of officers involved in shootings, unless they can demonstrate there are credible threats to the officers’ safety.”
In a statement, regarding Ezell Ford‘s killers, the LAPD wrote:
“In this particular case, it was necessary to investigate evidence brought to the department’s attention regarding potential threats to the safety of the officers and ensure that measures were taken to mitigate those threats”