PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Several groups want to prevent another tragedy by preparing people before they cross paths with police.
They’re handing out a brochure that details your rights and how to behave during an encounter with police.
Today Leon Ford is in a wheelchair, paralyzed following a routine police stop by Pittsburgh Police in Stanton Heights.
But what happened that fateful night, the exchange between Ford and the officers, was the motivation to revise a brochure called “You and The Police.”
It’s a general guideline on how to interact with police officers in the event of a routine police encounter.
“I truly believe that Leon Ford Jr. would possibly not be paralyzed today,” said Tim Stevens with the Black Political Empowerment Project.
The brochure will be distributed through area churches, schools, youth groups and basically to anyone who is interested in obtaining and distributing it.
It’s a collaborative effort between law enforcement, the ACLU, B-PEP, the Citizens Police Review Board and other groups. It outlines rights, responsibilities and the reality of a situation.
“Given the tension, not just in Pittsburgh, but across the country between communities of color and the police,” said Vic Walczak with the ACLU, “it just seemed like now was the perfect time to resurrect this brochure.”
So if the police want to pull you over, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:
-Pull over right away and pull into a well-lit area.
-Once you’ve stopped, put the car in park and turn of the ignition.
-If it’s dark out, turn on the dome lights.
Organizers hope the brochure will be copied and distributed throughout the county. The goal is to reach 18- to 34-year-olds.