On November 11, 2012, Leon Ford was pulled over by the Pittsburgh police. He promptly gave them his drivers license and registration, which confirmed who he was and his ownership of the vehicle he was driving. The police officers then decided, despite Leon giving them his identification, that he was someone else. What happened next, according to Michael Brasfield, former assistant police chief in Seattle and former chief of police in Ft. Lauderdale, were numerous violations of police procedures:
They did not activate sirens and lights immediately.
They did not immediately notify dispatch why they stopped Ford.
The stop lasted nearly 17 minutes and shouldn’t have taken that long.
Ford should have been ordered to turn off his ignition early on.
The license and registration materials Ford provided, even as officers were confused about whether he was in fact Lamont Ford, should have been enough to identify him.
If they were truly in fear that he had a gun, the word “gun” should have been yelled and officers should have drawn their weapons ordering him out of the car.
The officer who opened the car door and jumped into the car firing did so in direct violation of his training.
Even though Leon Ford was unarmed, and committed no crime, he was shot 5 times by Pittsburgh police and paralyzed. To make matters worse, Leon was charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and fleeing from police. Thankfully, on September 15, Leon was found not guilty of the most serious charge of aggravated assault. However the jury deadlocked on the other charges.
The Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala has until tomorrow, September 26th, to decide whether to retry Leon Ford on the lesser charges. I believe Leon Ford has suffered enough, don’t you? Please take some time out of your day today to call DA Stephen Zappala at 412-350-4400 and tell him not to waste time or resources to retry Leon Ford. You can also reach DA Zappala by email at this link. Demand that DA Zappala and the city of Pittsburgh do the right thing and let Leon Ford live.