PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The police shooting of Jacob Blake resonates with one local man.
Leon Ford was left paralyzed after police shot him during a traffic stop eight years ago. Blake was shot multiple times by police in Wisconsin on Sunday and is paralyzed.
“Our process is very similar, mentally and emotionally and even physically,” Ford said.
Ford was pulled over by Pittsburgh police in 2012 and was mistook for a wanted gang member. Ford offered proof of his identity, but when his ID wasn’t accepted by police, he became afraid and tried to drive away. That’s when he was shot by a police officer.
“For Jacob, it’s going to be a roller coaster. It’s going to be hard to trust people,” said Ford.
“He doesn’t need to immediately go out there and be the spokesperson for the movement. Take time to heal,” Ford added.
Ford reached out to Blake and shared a post on social media about moving through pain.
When you get shot by a cop and die—your fam suffers. When you get shot and survive with paralysis—you suffer. Trust me I know. If I could give Jacob Blake any advice I would say there is light in the tunnel if you want it to be there. Your mindset determines your quality of life. pic.twitter.com/wisPi0Crhg
— Leon Ford (@LeonFordSpeaks) August 25, 2020
“Life isn’t over. You can still live your life,” Ford told KDKA’s Pam Surano.
Following the police shooting of Blake, protests and violence erupted in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Ford believes change needs to happen in America.
“That fire, that anger, you just have to position that anger, position that fire, in a healthy way and we can see some results,” Ford said.
Ford is part of the Heal America Tour, a panel of spiritual leaders, police and business leaders traveling the country and inviting everyone to find solutions.
“Some of them are Republican, some of them are Democrat, don’t care,” Ford said. “Some of them are Muslim, Catholic, Christian, doesn’t matter. We are committed to healing America.”
Ford said he spoke directly with the mayor of Minneapolis and wants to do the same in his hometown.
“I would love to meet with Bill Peduto,” Ford said. “I would love to meet with (Allegheny County Executive) Rich Fitzgerald. I would love to meet with members of the police union.”
“How do we get in front of this?” Ford added. “We could have gotten in front of this.”
Ford says he has reached out to Mayor Peduto several times and has not received any response back.