Judge imposes gag order in Pittsburgh case that sparked protest
An Allegheny County judge on Wednesday imposed a gag order in the case of a Shaler man accused of assaulting Pittsburgh police officers during a traffic stop in 2012 that left him paralyzed.
Leon Ford, 21, is charged with assaulting the officers, recklessly endangering another person and several traffic offenses in the Nov. 11, 2012, incident.
Common Pleas President Judge Jeffrey A. Manning granted a request by Assistant District Attorney Robert Schupansky to issue the gag order in light of a protest Ford supporters held Tuesday evening in Highland Park.
Schupansky said the rally — where three people were arrested — brought additional media coverage and potentially tainted the jury pool.
“I'm not going to imperil jury selection,” Manning said.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Thursday. The trial before Common Pleas Judge Donald E. Machen is scheduled for Sept. 2, and is expected to last less than a week.
On the day of the shooting, police said, they spotted a silver Infiniti speeding on Larimer Avenue. The driver failed to stop completely at a stop sign at Meadow and St. Marie streets. They stopped the car at Stanton Avenue and Farragut Street.
While officers were confirming Ford's identity, Officer David Derbish said he noticed a “large, unnatural bulge” on Ford's leg and thought he was armed with a gun.
Police say Ford ignored an order to get out of the car, so they tried to remove him. During the struggle, Derbish said Ford struck him several times and tried to push him out of the car before he opened fire. Ford was hit four times and paralyzed from the waist down.
Ford has filed a federal civil lawsuit claiming Derbish, former Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper, acting Chief Regina McDonald and officers Michael Kosko and Andrew Miller violated his civil rights.
An internal police report filed among court documents on Wednesday recommended discipline and remedial training for the officers for failing to follow protocol, but also concluded that the situation could have been avoided had Ford followed the officers' instructions when they pulled him over.
Adam Brandolph is a Trib Total Media reporter.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
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.
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin won’t ask for taunting clarification from league
- Pirates win bidding for Korean infielder
- Worker at Mercer County center accused of illegal sexual contact with juveniles
- Leon Ford’s civil rights lawsuit can proceed, judge rules
- Tunisian election of political veteran Essebsi a return to regime
- Mars Area School District contends it was right to expel student with behavioral problems
- Razor blade thief being sought by state police in Indiana
- Ex-Russian official warns of ‘full-fledged crisis’
- Pitt recruit Whitehead remains committed
- Audit of Allegheny County Jail health provider says money being wasted, inmates at risk
- Ex-Penguins defenseman Niskanen still miffed by coaches’ firings