| News

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Judge delays ruling on charges against Shaler man shot by police

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By Adam Brandolph
Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 4:00 p.m.

Charges against a Shaler man who was shot by a Pittsburgh police officer during a traffic stop and paralyzed should be dismissed, his attorney argued on Wednesday before a Common Pleas judge.

Police officers created a “zone of danger” when they pulled over Leon D. Ford, 20, for running a stop sign on Nov. 11 in Highland Park, said his defense attorney, Fred Rabner.

Officers failed to follow proper protocol by trying to remove him from the car and when one of them jumped into the moving vehicle, he said.

“They created a dangerous situation,” Rabner said.

The officers charged Ford with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and other crimes in connection with the confrontation.

Police said Officer David Derbish jumped into the car and began shooting when Ford hit him several times and started driving away.

Allegheny County Judge Donald E. Machen said he won't decide for at least two months whether to dismiss the charges or allow them to proceed to court.

Ford has filed a federal lawsuit against Derbish and the other officers involved in the incident, Michael Kosko and Andrew Miller. The suit accuses the officers of excessive use of force, which the city Law Department and the Fraternal Order of Police union say is without merit.

Pittsburgh police Chief Regina McDonald declined to comment.

Assistant District Attorney Rob Schupansky said Rabner's arguments failed to address the charges against his client.

“These tragic circumstances were clearly brought about because of his actions,” Schupansky said.

Dozens of community activists and family members stood in the hallway outside the courtroom wearing T-shirts that read #Justice4Leon. The shirts were not permitted in the courtroom.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-391-0927 or

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Waivers granted for Garden Theater block development
  2. Pirates say goodbye to veteran leaders Burnett, Ramirez
  3. Review: In Edwidge Danticat’s lyrical ‘Untwine,’ a teen rebuilds her life
  4. Review: Lauren Groff’s ‘Fates and Furies’ looks at paradoxes of marriage
  5. Steelers notebook: Starting DEs not leaving the field
  6. State woos Kennametal with $1M in incentives to stay in Pa.
  7. Review: Vanessa Garcia’s ‘White Light’ examines artist’s conflicts
  8. Review: ‘The Killing Lessons’ is compelling thriller from Saul Black
  9. Safety of credit cards up to banks
  10. Homeless man accused in Brackenridge rape arrested in West Mifflin
  11. Car crashes into Subway in Beaver County