PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The man who was shot and paralyzed during a traffic stop in November of 2012 brought traffic to a halt in East Liberty Tuesday afternoon when he led a group of demonstrators in a protest.
The group of about 20 protesters, including Leon Ford and his father, marched toward Bakery Square around 3 p.m., demanding to see the new chief of Pittsburgh Police.
They chanted, “Who do we support? Leon Ford.”
The group dispersed when a police lieutenant asked them to stop.
However, they vowed to show up next Monday night at a community meeting with Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay.
“It’s been two years since I got shot, today,” said Ford. “And I don’t want nobody to forget, and I feel like, I need to send a message that the community hasn’t forgotten, we haven’t forgotten, and until they address the issue with my case, they’ll never be able to heal the relationship between the police force and the community.”
Ford was left paralyzed and is confined to a wheelchair after being shot during a traffic stop in the city’s East End in 2012. He was charged after fleeing from officers during the stop. They opened fire after fearing for their lives.
In September, 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 was deadlocked on charges of resisting arrest, escape and reckless endangerment.
Tuesday’s protestors say they decided to protest for three reasons.
First, it is the anniversary of the day Ford was shot.
Second, they are upset that the officer who shot him is still on the street.
And, third, Ford is upset about comments made at a community meeting Monday night that the new police chief inherited these problems and there was nothing that could be done about them.
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