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City Agrees To $5.5 Million Settlement For Leon Ford

David Goldman
Leon Ford, center, joins hands with children during a rally in memory of Kendrick Johnson, a south Georgia teenager found dead in 2013, after investigators ruled he died in a freak accident.

The City of Pittsburgh has agreed to pay a $5.5 million settlement to Leon Ford, who was shot and paralyzed by Pittsburgh Police at a traffic stop in 2012.

After a lengthy trial in October, Detective Andrew Miller, who was involved in the incident, was cleared of all violations. A jury deadlocked on claims against Officer David Derbish in the federal civil lawsuit. Derbish shot Ford five times.

In a joint statement issued by Mayor Bill Peduto and Ford, the deal is called “an amicable resolution” that will provide “closure.”

“It’s closure in the sense that [the case is] no longer open. When you’re talking about justice, that’s another story,” said Brandi Fisher, president of the Alliance for Police Accountability. “This is an inkling of justice. The only inkling that was left for Leon to receive. We’re just ecstatic that he has finally come to see that.”

Fisher’s organization and the Black Political Empowerment Project called for a settlement after last year’s trial.

“I think it was time. The money was right. And I think Leon realized that he has greater works to do in his life than litigate this matter," said Fred Rabner, Ford's attorney.

Pittsburgh City Paper named Ford its "Pittsburgher of the Year" for 2017, pointing his public speaking work and his new gig as a local "entrepreneur in residence" for California-based venture capital firm Bronze Investments.

An-Li Herring is a reporter for 90.5 WESA, with a focus on economic policy, local government, and the courts. She previously interned for NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg in Washington, DC, and the investigations team at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A Pittsburgh native, An-Li completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan and earned her law degree from Stanford University. She can be reached at aherring@wesa.fm.