PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Leon Ford, who was paralyzed during a November 2012 traffic stop in the city’s East End, was found not guilty of two counts of aggravated assault. A jury was deadlocked on all other charges.
Ford was charged after fleeing from officers during a traffic stop. They opened fire after fearing for their lives.READ MORE: Community Leaders Offer Solutions To Curb Violent Crime In Pittsburgh
Ford was found not guilty of the most serious charges: two counts of aggravated assault against Officer David Derbish, the officer who jumped in the car and shot Ford as the car pulled away.
But the jury foreman said they were hopelessly deadlocked on five other counts: three counts of reckless endangerment, and one count each of resisting arrest and escape. The defense has asked the judge for a judgment of acquittal on those counts. The judge has yet to rule on that request. Meantime, the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office has yet to decide whether it wants to retry the case on those remaining counts.
The only conviction Ford faces is the summary count of failure to yield and one count of careless driving, imposed by Judge Donald Machen late this afternoon.
The trial wrapped up last week after days of testimony that included police officers, use of force experts and Ford himself.
Ford took the stand last Monday.READ MORE: Employers Mandating COVID-19 Vaccinations Raises Questions But May Be Legal In Most Cases
He told the jury he thought he was going to die once gunfire rang out at the end of the traffic stop. He testified he was terrified when police kept insisting he might have been Lamont Ford.
His wheelchair was lifted onto the witness stand before the jury arrived, and he testified the tone was set when the first officer to approach him snatched his license from him. Things went downhill once it took so long to determine who he was.
“I didn’t know if they were going to beat me, shoot me or tax me,” said Ford.
He claimed that the car started moving before he knew it and he had no idea an officer got into the car until he heard gunshots and smelled smoke.
The prosecution contends Ford was trying to push the police officer out of the car, when he was shot.MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Restaurant That Survived COVID-19 Gets Hit With Eviction Notice
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