PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A 20-year-old Shaler man who was shot and paralyzed during a traffic stop, has filed a federal lawsuit against Pittsburgh Police.
The suit claims officers used excessive force and violated the man’s rights in a confrontation that was captured on dash cam video.
The lawsuit claims Leon Ford is paralyzed for life following the November 2012 traffic stop in Larimer.
Dash cam video picked up the sound of the five bullets fired. Ford was wounded in the chest.
“It’s clearly racial profiling the way they stopped this young man,” said Monte Rabner, Ford’s attorney. “Horrible.”
Police say they pulled Ford over after he ran two stop signs. They suspected he was another guy named Ford and wanted to question him.
When Ford wouldn’t get out of his car, a scuffle ensued, the car took off and police began firing.
Ford’s attorney claims police were way out of control.
“When you have two people pulling on you from the driver’s side, and one person pushing you from the passenger side, and there’s a tussle going on in the car, you have to determine why that car actually moved,” said Rabner.
Police claim they saw a bulge in Ford’s sweatpants and feared he had a gun. But there was no weapon.
Even so, Ford is charged with recklessly endangering another person, aggravated assault and resisting arrest.
“He has to fight, not only for his life to stay alive physically; he now has to fight for his freedom,” Rabner said. “It’s horrible.”
Rabner won’t say how much he’s seeking in the lawsuit, but he says no amount of money will ever make Ford walk again.
The city, meantime, did not have any reaction today to the lawsuit.
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