Retrial set for civil rights suit against police officer

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A judge has scheduled a retrial early next year in a civil rights lawsuit filed by a black man paralyzed when he was shot during a traffic stop by a Pittsburgh police officer.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Maureen Kelly met Friday with lawyers and set a Jan. 22 date for the trial on allegations of excessive force by one officer against Leon Ford, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported . The case was also referred for mediation to see if a solution can be worked out before trial.

Jurors earlier this month cleared the other officer of assault and battery allegations but said they were deadlocked on Ford’s allegation that the remaining officer used excessive force.

The officers said Ford was shot five times during the November 2012 traffic stop because he tried to drive away during a struggle inside his vehicle. Their attorney said Ford was shot during a frantic seven-second interval when his car drove forward as one officer stood outside and the other was kneeling on the front passenger seat and who fired multiple times from inside the car.

But Ford says the car was inadvertently knocked into gear and that the officers acted aggressively because they thought he was a gang member with a similar name, age and appearance.

Ford’s attorneys say the shooting left him a paraplegic who must use a catheter six times a day and clear his bowels manually, and who was left without any sexual function.

“I am confident that the truth will come out again the next time a jury hears my case,” Ford said in a statement issued by his attorneys after the verdict.”


Information from: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,


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