October 24, 2013

By Ashley N. Johnson

Special to the NNPA from the New Pittsburgh Courier


A judge has decided to delay his ruling and give the defense more time to present their case at yesterday’s requested hearing to dismiss criminal charges against a then teen, who was shot by Pittsburgh police and left paralyzed.

Judge Donald Machen gave the defense attorneys for Leon Ford, 20, thirty days to submit a brief explaining their claim of how officers created a zone of danger in this case.     “It’s a first step and equivalent to fighting with your hands behind your back and winning the case,” Fred Rabner, Ford’s attorney, said in a statement after the hearing. “Our story is yet to come out and when it does, it will be devastating to the prosecution’s case.”

Ford was shot four times by police last November during what many are saying should have been a “routine” traffic stop on Stanton Avenue in the Highland Park area. Ford, who is accused of dragging a police officer, is charged with reckless endangerment, aggravated assault, and escape, which was added just before the morning’s proceedings.

Attorney Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the family of Trayvon Martin and was present at the hearing, claims that this was an incident of racial profiling, and is asking the district attorney to look at the statements and affidavits made by police for false statements, along with why there have been no charges against the officers who committed crimes against Ford.

“Judge Machen was fair and unbiased. I’m hopeful that (he) will dismiss the charges, providing (Ford’s) attorney gives an argument to sway the judge’s decision,” said Brandi Fisher, of the Alliance for Police Accountability, who was also present and helped to organize a rally and press conference held outside of the city-county building prior to the proceedings.

Latonya Green, Ford’s mother said, “We are standing up for Leon because the Pittsburgh police paralyzed my son and now he cannot stand up for himself and will never walk again.

A federal lawsuit was filed in September against the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, officers David Derbish, Andrew Miller and former Pittsburgh police officer Michael Kosko, former police chief Nate Harper and acting police chief Regina McDonald accusing them of using excessive force, unlawful search and seizure and violation of due process.

The judge’s ruling is expected to be made in two months.

Category: News