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Officers Testify In Trial For Man Shot, Paralyzed During Police Confrontation

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Harold Hayes Harold Hayes
Harold Hayes joined KDKA-TV in August of 1979 as a general assignment...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A second police officer took the stand in the trial of a man left paralyzed after a traffic stop on the city’s East End in November of 2012.

Officer Andrew Miller is the partner of the officer who initiated the traffic stop. He took the stand late Wednesday afternoon as a prosecution witness. His testimony is expected to continue Thursday.

Earlier, former Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Kosko, who now works in Florida, testified that he pulled Leon Ford over because he was speeding.

But a police report filed in connection with the case states Kosko also based the stop on the belief that Ford ran a stop sign at the intersection of Meadow and St. Marie Streets.

However, he admitted under cross examination by the defense that there is no stop sign at that intersection.

Kosko said he was mistaken and the stop sign in question is at Stanton and Meadow.

The traffic stop went on for at least 16 minutes as officers tried to determine whether Leon Ford was actually Lamont Ford who police described as a gang banger with outstanding warrants.

A picture of Lamont Ford was what showed up when the name “LFord” was put into a database.

A smaller driver’s license picture of Leon Ford was in their hands after he gave it to them, along with his registration.

Ford pulled away from the traffic stop as a third officer arrived who thought the suspect looked like Lamont Ford to him.

Ford ended up paralyzed from the waist down after an officer got in the car as Ford pulled away. He fired five shots before the car lost control.

Police dash cam video captured the police stop in Highland Park.

There was speculation among police that Ford may have been armed, but after they examined the scene they determined he was not armed.

When asked why he searched “LFord” even though Leon Ford’s license and registration identified him, Kosko replied, “It was due to the totality of the circumstances. It was a high crime area. Sometimes people give false names.”

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