Judge delays ruling on charges against Shaler man shot by police
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Pederson had to go at Pitt
- Pederson’s 2nd tenure as the athletic director at Pitt comes to abrupt end
- Chryst returns home, named football coach at Wisconsin
- Donation another step toward new roof at Cowansville veterans center
- Officials get early start on NuMine bridge replacement planning
- Munhall’s $8.3 million spending plan has no tax hike or furloughs
- Steelers, young and old, thirst for opportunity to reach the postseason
- Philly DA says no affidavits claimed by AG Kane in bribery case existed
- With 3 more players possibly affected, Pens’ mumps fight escalates
- Harmar developer sells 15 hotels in Western Pa., West Virginia
- Toast of the Town: Explore Lawrenceville’s many watering holes