Leon Ford Jr.'s name is now cleared.
More than two years after he was shot five times by Pittsburgh police during a traffic stop in November 2012 and left paralyzed, charges lingering against him have been dropped by the Allegheny County District Attorney.
On Friday, Stephen A. Zappala Jr. directed that charges of reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and escape against Ford be withdrawn. A jury failed to make a decision on these charges during a trial in September 2014, but cleared him of two counts of aggravated assault against police officers.
Zappala said in a statement that Ford's injuries from the event would be a "deterrence of any future conduct of this type" and there would not be a second trial. He added that concerns of community members with police training, tactics and relations were also considered in making the decision to clear Ford.
"Given the efforts of Chief [Cameron] McLay to improve police and community relations, it is my hope that not proceeding to a second trial will assist both the Chief and our community in this regard," Zappala said in the statement.
The night Ford was shot, he was stopped by police after they said he ran two stop signs. They suspected he was another man named "L. Ford." A dashcam video shows police attempting to pull Ford from the vehicle.
After unsuccessfully doing so, Ford drove away out of fear. Police claim they thought a bulge in Ford’s sweatpants was a gun. But investigators never found a weapon on him. Authorities also said that Ford endangered their lives when he stepped on the gas.
Now that Ford is cleared of criminal charges, he will continue on with a federal lawsuit he filed against the city and the officers involved in September 2013.
Follow Natelege Whaley on Twitter: @Natelege_
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(Photo: Leon Ford via Instagram)
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