Ford files civil suits against city police

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LEON FORD JR.

Leon Ford Jr., the then 19-year-old who was shot by Pittsburgh Police officers November 2012, during what many believe should have been a routine traffic stop in Highland Park, and is now paralyzed, has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, three Pittsburgh police officers, and the former and acting police chiefs.

On Sept. 18,  Ford, 20, filed a lawsuit against the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, officers David Derbish, Andrew Miller and former Pittsburgh police officer Michael Kosko, former police chief Nate Harper and acting police chief Regina McDonald accusing them of using excessive force, unlawful search and seizure and violation of due process.

It was on Nov. 12 that Ford was pulled over for a traffic violation at the intersection of Stanton Avenue and Farragut Street in Highland Park. Authorities say while they were questioning him, Ford began to reach for what they thought was a gun. Derbish then opened the passenger door of the vehicle, reached in to grab Ford’s hand, and Ford allegedly began to drive off, dragging Derbish along. Derbish then shot Ford multiple times. No gun was ever found and Ford’s  wounds to the chest left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Ford was charged with aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and resisting arrest.

Elizabeth Pettinger, director of the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board, said there is an active investigation into the officer’s actions, but that she is waiting for District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr.’s ruling on the officers’ conduct before she can move forward.

But although there is an active investigation into the officers’ actions that night, it has been confirmed that both Derbish and Miller are active and working on Pittsburgh streets.

“It is my personal opinion that they have not done a full investigation and that they (Derbish and Miller) should not be working on the streets,” said Monte Rabner, Ford’s lawyer.

Attempts were made to speak to Ford’s father, but calls were not returned.

According to Rabner, a hearing is scheduled for October.

 

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